'We are in the middle of a housing crisis': Redbridge Council urges homeowners to bring empty properties into use
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 September 2019
Redbridge Council is urging homeowners to bring their empty properties back into use to reduce homelessness, add to the housing stock and improve the look and feel of the borough.
As part of Empty Homes Week, the council is raising awareness of the grants and advice on offer to homeowners with empty properties.
Last year the council investigated hundreds of reported properties across the borough and managed to bring 120 back into use.
Properties that have been empty for more than six months and can be rented out to tenants nominated by the council's housing service are eligible for a grant which covers up to 50 per cent of the cost of the renovation work required, with a maximum limit of £40,000 dependent on the number of bedrooms in the property.
A grant is also now available for owners to help renovate their properties which have been empty for more than five years, where they are planning on occupying the property themselves.
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With ambitious targets to increase the quantity and availability of high-quality affordable housing, bringing empty homes back into use is a priority for the council.
The first aim is to work alongside owners but where they are unwilling to bring a property into use, the council may act to get the property renovated and re-occupied.
Neighbours are also being encouraged to help identify empty or abandoned properties by informing the council's home improvement team.
Councillor Farah Hussain, cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said: "We are in the middle of a housing crisis, so it's more important than ever that we do everything we can to bring empty properties into use to increase housing supply and help reduce homelessness in Redbridge.
"Problems such as anti-social behaviour, vandalism, fly-tipping and arson can also be an issue with empty homes, so it's key we identify them.
"We will always support owners to ensure these homes are used for people who really need them and encourage owners and neighbours to come forward with information to help us identify empty homes."
To access the council's advice service or request details of the grant, or report an empty home, you can call 020 8708 5361.