𝟏 𝐢𝐧 𝟓𝟐 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐦 𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐚
April 19th, 2022
- 𝟏,𝟐𝟐𝟎 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡 𝐊𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐚 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐲, 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝟏 𝐢𝐧 𝟓𝟐 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬
- 𝟔𝟕𝟐 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐢𝐱 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 £𝟏𝟕𝟑𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧
- 𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐦?
A couple of weeks ago was National Empty Homes Week, so I thought I would find out how many homes are empty in the Grantham area –the numbers surprised me, so I wanted to share my thoughts about them with you.
The latest Government statistics show that 672 properties in South Kesteven have been empty for more than six months. Homes that are left empty for an extended period can affect our locality and occasionally invite anti-social behaviour. With a shortage of housing in the Grantham area, these empty homes must be brought back into use to generate much-needed housing for local Grantham people.
As you can see in the first bullet point, some homes are only empty for a short period of time. Yet, those local properties that stand empty for more than six months and then deteriorate become a problem for our local community.
I appreciate there can be many genuine explanations for why a property may be left empty for a long time. However, with council house waiting lists at high levels and the shortage of both properties to buy and rent in Grantham, we must ask what is being done about this at the Government level and how this could affect the Grantham property market?
The collective value of these 672 long-term (6 months or more) empty houses in South Kesteven are worth £173million. This impacts the Grantham housing market with a lack of properties coming onto the market for sale and rent. This results in house prices being pushed up, making it less affordable for first-time buyers to get on the first step of the housing ladder.
It’s a real shame that many local properties are empty for over six months when there is an increasing demand for accommodation, at a time when there’s such a competitive housing market.
So, one might ask if this issue of long-term empty properties is a new problem? Well not really.
There were 648 homes long-term empty in South Kesteven in 2010.
I know our local authority likes to work with property owners of empty Grantham homes to bring them back into housing stock as it helps with the housing shortage, even with the help of grants if improvement work is needed for the empty home. Yet, they could use enforcement action where a homeowner is incapable or unwilling to bring their property back into use.
So, what is the Government doing nationally? Homeowners are charged a 50% premium on top of their Council Tax if their home has been empty for two years or more. This can rise to a 300% premium if the property has been empty for ten years or more.
However, the bigger question is, why are all these homes in the Grantham and South Kesteven area being left empty?
The real answer is – that they are not.
A handful of the properties belong to the local authority and are in poor condition because the tenant trashed the property. Probate (where the person’s estate is put in order and passed onto the beneficiaries of the will) takes between six and twelve months. Most of these long-term properties are being modernised and renovated, whilst other Grantham properties are part of a deceased estate. In other circumstances, some Grantham homes have been left empty after the owner has been placed into a care home, yet there is no Power of Attorney to put the home onto the market.
There is no ‘one fix all’ to the empty home syndrome in Grantham.
Empty properties in Grantham is not the issue that will be sort the housing crisis were suffer from.
The simple fact is that the population is growing faster than the number of houses being built. We need to build more homes.
Whether that means council houses housing the masses, housing association homes or private landlords, or even owner-occupation, that’s a massive question we could all talk about, day in day out until the cows come home.
So, tell me, what are your thoughts on the matter?