Empty homes tackled with common lease launch

20 Oct 05
Councils and housing associations are being helped to bring empty homes back into use.

21 October 2005

Councils and housing associations are being helped to bring empty homes back into use.

By launching a common lease this week, the Empty Homes Agency hopes to help landlords avoid problems with contracts.

At present, fewer than a third of local authorities work with registered social landlords to renovate empty properties.

The lease, launched on October 21 as part of the agency's national week of action, was drawn up in collaboration with the Housing Corporation, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the firm Devonshires Solicitors.

According to the agency, there are 689,000 empty properties in England.

EHA spokesman David Ireland said voluntary leasing schemes should pave the way for new empty dwelling management orders, which councils will be able to enforce on landlords with empty properties from April.

'Landlords involved in voluntary leasing have come up against the same stumbling blocks,' he said. 'It made sense to come up with a common lease.'

The agency is also urging the government to make greater use of 'red field' sites – land with properties that can be returned to use as homes.

PFoct2005

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