England has more than 200,000 empty homes. How to revive them? (The Guardian, 25 Sept 2018)

  • England has more than 200,000 empty homes. How to revive them?

  • By Mattha Busby. Published in the Guardian on 25 September 2018

  • Summary:

    • "Ask most people about England’s epidemic of empty homes and they are likely to think of lavish vacant mansions in London owned by absent foreign billionaires.

    • In fact, the majority of empty properties are in post-industrial areas, where poverty rates are high and house prices languish well below their pre-crash levels. Such a place is Stockton-on-Tees, near Middlesbrough, where Martyn Jones lives.

    • Two years ago Jones, 23, was homeless and relying on friends to let him sleep on their couches while he struggled to find work. Today, he is painting a wall in a gutted home on a quiet street, part of a group tasked with refurbishing some of the area’s many vacant, derelict homes.

    • Last week, Theresa May pledged an extra £2bn for housing associations to fund large-scale developments. But with new house building not providing enough affordable homes for more than 1 million people on waiting lists in England, social enterprises and councils are trying to bring empty homes, which number well over 200,000 and are worth almost £50bn, back into occupancy."

  • Keywords: UK, taxes, vacant property, empty dwelling, local councils, big landlords