Across the borough there are approximately 800 privately owned empty properties. There are many reasons that lead to properties remaining empty – we know that in many cases the owner is trying to sell the property but market conditions make this difficult. We also know that people may have inherited a property that is in poor condition and are unsure about what to do with it, or they may need access to finance to undertake the necessary repairs that would enable them to bring the property back into use.
The Council has joined a Greater Manchester campaign called “Empty to Plenty”. The campaign aims to bring 1,500 empty properties across the region back into use by 2015 and in doing so reduce the negative impact that these properties can have on communities.
In Tameside, we are working on several initiatives to bring revive empty properties with two of our Housing Association partners, New Charter Homes and Ashton Pioneer Homes.
New Charter Homes are looking to purchase and repair empty homes in order to bring them back into use. Ashton Pioneer Homes are looking to act as a managing agent for owners – if the home is in need of repair and the owner does not want to sell, then it may be possible to lease the property from the owner for an agreed period of time, make the necessary repairs and provide the owner with a good quality management service and a regular income.
I really hope these schemes are successful because empty homes represent a significant waste of accommodation and resources that if addressed could be used to help meet the housing needs of many local families in the borough.
To find out more about returning an empty property back into use visit www.tameside.gov.uk/emptytoplenty.