Suffolk Coastal District Council tracking down owners of empty properties after 780 vacant homes identified
- Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers
Nearly 780 homes have been identified as “long term empty” in the Suffolk Coastal area – but housing chiefs are confident they are getting to grips with the problem.
The council said it had worked with landlords and property owners in recent months to reduce the number by 130.
Richard Kerry, cabinet member for housing, said letters were sent out in June in respect of 556 properties that had been empty for at least six months.
He said: “The number of empty properties in June was higher than 556 but we didn’t send letters in respect of properties that we knew were empty and we were aware of the circumstances for this.
“We have now received 311 completed questionnaires and information by telephone/email regarding a further 82 properties.
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“In addition, we made visits to 103 properties and made calls to the owners of a further 15 properties where the contact details were known.
“The number of properties that have been empty for more than six months changes on a day-to-day basis as properties that were empty become occupied and properties that had been empty for less than six months slip over the six months and become ‘long term’ empty.
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“Over the course of the survey we were aware of at least 780 properties that were or became ‘long term’ empty.”
Of the homes tackled, 99 were occupied as main residences, 42 used as second homes, 113 for sale/ for let and 170 undergoing or due to undergo renovation works.
He added: “This information can now be used to target our work towards those properties that appear to be empty for no obvious reason and where they are located in areas of the greatest housing need.”