Thousands of homes lying vacant in the East Riding, say campaigners

Thousands of empty houses in the East Riding should be used to help solve the national housing crisis, campaigners argue.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 10:25 am
3,513 homes in the East Riding were not being used as of October, according to the new analysis. Photo: PA Images

Action on Empty Homes said it is “exceptionally worrying” that more than half a million homes lie unused across England, while tens of thousands of families are living in temporary accommodation.

The campaign group’s analysis of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG ) figures show that 3,513 homes in the East Riding were not being used as of October, up from 3,140 the year before.

Of these, 1,667 were long-term vacancies, unoccupied for at least six months, and 1,846 were second homes.

This means one in every 45 homes in the East Riding owere out of use – on a par with the average across England.

There were 268,000 long-term empty homes across the country – 19% more than the previous October, the biggest annual increase since current records began in 2004.

A further 263,000 are classed as second homes which are not in residential use long-term, and are not charged extra council tax when they are unused.

Action on Empty Homes said that the 531,000 properties without residents should instead offer “vitally needed housing” to the homeless.

Director Will McMahon said: “It can’t be right that in the last four years we have seen an escalating housing crisis while the number of long-term empty homes keeps rising. It will be impossible to ‘build back better’ if we keep letting our housing crisis get worse.”

Separate figures from MHCLG show the number of households in temporary accommodation in the East Riding of Yorkshire is rising.

An MHCLG spokesman said: “We have given councils powers and strong incentives to tackle empty homes, including the power to increase council tax by up to 300% on these properties, and take over the management of homes that have been empty for a long period.

“They also receive the same New Homes Bonus for bringing an empty home back into use as for building a new one.”