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Empty Homes

Empty homes in England account for 3% of the total housing stock. According to Council Tax Data collected by local authorities, there were 734,000 vacant dwellings at the end of September 2010. Out of those, 301,000 are in the private sector, which accounts for 1.6% of all private sector stock. Empty homes brought back into use can contribute to the housing supply to meet local needs and help tackle homelessness, prevent neighbourhood decline and regenerate areas.

Bringing empty homes back into use is a priority for the Coalition Government. As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010, the Government announced a £100m fund to bring more empty homes back into use. The Government followed this up by publishing its Housing Strategy on 21 November 2011, of which an important part is its strategy for tackling empty properties.

The strategy included details of the £100m capital funding from within the 2011-15 Affordable Homes Programme that had been set aside to tackle long-term empty properties which would not come back into use without additional financial intervention. It’s intended that this funding will deliver at least 3,300 Affordable Homes by March 2015.

£70m of this funding has been assigned to the HCA to deliver a programme to bring empty properties back in to use as affordable housing. The remaining £30m has been made available to community and voluntary groups via a separate funding programme run by Tribal Education on behalf of DCLG.

On 5 March 2012 we announced allocations which could deliver up to 5,600 new affordable homes:

Please note: the allocations contained in this document are indicative only and subject to contract.

Empty Homes allocations by HCA operating areas:

  Funding    Units
East and South East £10,699,500 748
Midlands £15,517,487 1,289
North East, Yorkshire and The Humber £9,867,650 945
North West £11,520,063 1,075
South and South West £6,529,065 480
Total £54,133,765 4,537

 

  Funding    Units
London (transferred to the GLA) £15,688,985 1,118

Further funding may become available as a result of slippage over the course of the programme. Providers interested bringing forward empty property to bring back into use as affordable housing should contact their local HCA area office to discuss their proposals.

The 2012-15 Empty Homes bidding guidance and the set of FAQs published during the bid round can be found below:

Framework Delivery Agreements

We have published the standard forms of Empty Homes 2012/15 Framework Delivery Agreement which will form the basis of contractual agreements between the HCA and the Provider(s). There is a separate agreement for single Providers and for consortium Providers. There is also a separate agreement for Providers that are creating a revolving empty homes fund.

If you have any questions relating to the Empty Homes please submit your query to AHPFAQ@hca.gsi.gov.uk.

DCLG funding for Community and Voluntary Groups

Details of the £30m funding programme run by Tribal Education on behalf the DCLG can be found on the Tribal Education website. The application guidance was made available on the DCLG website.

Additional Empty Homes funding

In the September 2012 Housing and Growth package, Government announced that a share of the £300m of additional funding would be made available to help bring 5,000 empty properties back into use. We’ve now published a bidding prospectus for Providers, with full details on how to bid.


 

Building local authorities’ capacity

In 2010/11 we delivered a Capacity Building Programme (CPB) to more than 260 local authorities. Run in partnership with the national charity, Empty Homes; this year-long programme has delivered bespoke skills, knowledge, support and training.

As part of the legacy of the CBP, the HCA has developed a web-based Empty Homes Toolkit that provides relevant legal and operational information on empty homes, as well as good practice examples for local authorities, housing associations, elected members, empty property owners, landlords and the wider community. It includes statistical data, a legislative framework, information on partnership building and investment, examples of best practice and a reference supplement.

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