The Hull Partnership Empty Homes Programme has had considerable success over the years, and to date the partnership has created more than 650 quality homes. Hull City Council wants to encourage people to report empty properties and to show how they can be renovated and brought back to use.
Cllr John Black, Hull City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, says: “An empty house is a waste of a home and can have a negative impact on communities. Properties which have been left can soon fall into disrepair, attract anti-social behaviour, and make a neighbourhood look neglected.
“Furthermore, at a time when we face a triple challenge of meeting the housing shortfall, reducing fuel poverty, and working to become carbon neutral, retrofitting empty homes using modern, energy efficient building materials and techniques offers a lower carbon footprint than relying solely on new build approaches.”
The latest project under way by Partnership member Giroscope is a property in west Hull that has been unoccupied for more than a decade. Originally two homes, then made into one, the current owner had begun a renovation programme to convert it back into two semi-detached houses.
Unfortunately, circumstances prevented the owner from completing it. The council and the owner had been discussing options for the property and was put in contact with Giroscope. Working together, a sale was agreed which suited both parties.
Now, Giroscope is renovating the building create two three-bedroom houses as social housing, which will be available to rent. The purchase and renovations will be partly funded by Right to Buy Replacement Grant Fund from Hull City Council.
Martin Newman, Coordinator of Giroscope, says: “Sometimes there is tension between the empty property owner and the potential buyer, especially where the owner has bought the property for an investment and has not seen the value rise as expected.
“This tension can make the purchase of long-term empties very difficult, and sometimes impossible. However, this was a case where the owner and the buyer worked together to find the best solution.”
If you are aware of a home that has been empty for six months or more, you can report it to the council. If there is any risk to the public, remedial action such as boarding up or stopping water leaks takes place. Then the owner is contacted to encourage them to either sell the property or renovate it and rent it out.
The council also has powers to take control of empty properties and let them to tenants, and to demolish empty properties as part of a wider regeneration strategy or if a property is causing a nuisance and cannot be renovated at reasonable cost.
To report a problem with an empty home, visit www.hull.gov.uk/housing/private-landlords/private-housing-enquiries