In this edition of Action on Empty Homes News we look at how growing awareness of empty homes underlines wider issues in housing
Changing patterns of work – tell us your stories:
We hope that this newsletter finds you well. If you have stories to share on how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting your work on empty homes, we would love to publish your thoughts as a blog on our website
Propertymark write to Housing Minister on need for new Empty Homes Programme
Propertymark have written to Housing Minister Christopher Pincher with a call for Government investment in empty homes. Their letter referenced the National Coalition on this issue which Action on Empty Homes leads. Read the letter in full here.
An empty homes officer in London? Share your expertise at our October 15th meeting
We want the input of London empty homes officers to help us understand data collection practices concerning the council taxbase, empty homes and second homes. We are hosting a Zoom meeting of officers. Want to know more? E-mail Chris Bailey
Empty Homes Week 2019 Email notification error...
We’re sorry if your inbox was bunged up with an email notification from 2019 - we are checking with our provider to work out what happened. As we reported in our last edition, Empty Homes Week has been re-scheduled to February 15th - 21st 2021.
News around the UK
Call for a Housing Conversion Fund
Concerns about the long-term impact of Covid-19 on the UK housing market are increasing. The Affordable Housing Commission is calling for a Housing Conversion Fund “to help social landlords and community organisations to acquire developers’ unsold homes, and to buy rented properties from over-stretched buy-to-let landlords, and down-at-heel PRS properties and empty homes" - read their announcement here. The full report is here.
Does Wales lead the way on second homes?
The BBC report protests in Caernarvon: “According to Gwynedd council's housing department, 811 new houses are needed each year to meet local demand, but 830 existing properties each year are being ‘lost’ as second homes.” Welsh councils have additional powers on second homes, notably on council tax premiums: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-54316425.
Wales remains the only UK nation to have given local authorities powers to charge higher levels of council tax on both long-term empty and second homes.
However this BBC story from May reports speculation that some second homes will be registered as businesses to avoid the tax premium: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-52789527
Will housing impact the US Presidential Election?
The former UN Raporteur on the Right to Decent Housing Leilani Farhi certainly hopes so and chose this week to launch her documentary ‘The Push’ across the USA http://www.pushthefilm.com/
Meanwhile Manhattan vacants rise
There were more than 15,000 empty rental apartments in Manhattan in August, up from 5,600 a year ago, as New Yorkers fled the city amid the coronavirus crisis. https://seekingalpha.com/news/3612778-manhattan-rental-market-sinks-number-of-empty-apartments-triple