Nearly 1,000 empty homes in Ashfield, despite housing crisis


Campaigners say abandoned housing should be reused to tackle England’s housing crisis, after councils across the country registered hundreds of thousands of empty houses.

Of these, 709 had been collecting dust for six months or more, and at least 201 had been abandoned for more than two years.

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The Association of Local Authorities called on the government to give local authorities more powers to acquire empty housing.

The figures, which cover properties subject to housing tax, also show 71 homes in the area were classified as second homes last month.

Various figures from the DLUHC show that in 2020-2021, 193 households in Mansfield were eligible for council support after becoming homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Councilor Marion Bradshaw, Mansfield Council Housing Portfolio Holder, said: “Council believes that every empty property is a wasted resource and we recognize that these properties can wreak havoc on an area.

“In 2019, following new government legislation, we introduced a 200% municipal tax rate on empty properties for two to five years.

Coun Marion Bradshaw, portfolio holder of the Mansfield Council for Safer Communities, Housing and Well-being.

“This rises to 300% for properties that have been empty for more than five years and to 400% for those that have been empty for more than 10 years.

“While there initially appeared to be a decline in vacant properties for more than two years in 2019 compared to 2018, after the introduction of these higher rates, the number has increased last year and this year.”

Figures show that the number of empty homes facing a tax premium rose from 157 in 2018 to 136 in 2019, before rising to 142 in 2020 and 201 this year.

Councilor Bradshaw said: “We cannot know why, but we cannot rule out the effects of Covid pandemic and closures, delaying probate agreements for the properties of deceased residents, for example.

“Shortages in the construction industry this year could also mean that it will take longer to renovate empty properties before they are put up for sale.

“As a council, we are using the powers at our disposal to try to help re-establish occupancy of problematic vacant properties and over the past two years we have helped bring 18 problematic or long-term vacant properties back to service. .

“As a first step, we provide owners with information, advice and support. It is a sensitive subject. Often times, these premises have emotional value to their owners who may have inherited their childhood home from their parents, for example, and it may be difficult for them to simply sell it after their parents have died.

“If we can’t engage with the owners, the council can take other action.

“This can include issuing a confirmation notice to improve the appearance of a property, up to the completion of its sale or, as a last resort, its forced purchase by the board.

“Fortunately, this last action is extremely rare.”

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Affordable

A government spokesperson said more than 243,000 new homes were delivered last year, with £ 12bn invested in affordable housing over five years.

He said the number of empty houses had decreased by 30,000 since 2010, adding: “We have taken important steps to prevent empty houses. “

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