Consultation Exercise for Empty Homes Strategy 2015

Empty Homes Strategy Consultation

Knowsley is currently in the process of revising our Empty Homes Strategy and would value the views of all stakeholders including homeowners. The existing strategy which was launched in 2011 and the vision was to –

·         Reduce properties which have been empty for over 2 years

·         Prioritise empty homes to ensure that the highest priority cases are tackled first taking into account local needs

·         Reduce properties which have been empty for over 5 years

As a result of these objectives significant reductions were recorded for properties empty for over 2 years.

·         2 years + empty –reduction from 444 to 232

·         5 years + empty- reduction from 264 to 72

The strategy was split into 5 themes and achieved significant success in each as outlined below -

1.    Improve communication

·         An Annual Newsletter for Empty Home Owners

·         Standard approach for all empty properties over 2 year empty

2.    Effective enforcement

·         Introduced a priority scoring matrix to develop a top 40 empty properties

·         Successful use of Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO), Enforced Sale and Improvement Notices.

3.    Enhanced advice and support to owners and residents

·         Launched Matchmaker scheme to help empty home owners advertise their properties and connect with potential buyers

·         Interdepartmental links with Landlord Accreditation scheme which enables access to the many benefits including Tenancy Bond Scheme

4.    Increased Partnership Working

·       Successful Lease Management schemes set up with Local Registered Providers

·       Participation with the Restore Consortium which successfully secured the return to use of 18 units of accommodation at Affordable Rent

5.    Enhance Knowledge and Information

·         Initiated Quarterly monitoring of empty homes which enabled us to target resources effectively

Empty Homes remain a significant priority nationally and the latest Government data on empty properties suggests that there are over 610,000 empty homes in England. The latest Government data also records over 200,000 long-term empty homes (that is homes empty over six months). In the North West Region the percentage of empty homes is higher than the average for England therefore reducing the number of empty properties is both a national and local priority.

In Knowsley there are 2043 empty properties of which 861 are long term empty homes. Empty properties represent a waste of resources and can become blight on the community. In some cases they can put additional strain on local services and become a concern for neighbours who worry about the property being targeted. The Empty Homes Strategy aims to minimise the impact on local communities and work with empty home owners to do this.

As the owner of an empty property we would like to invite you to complete this questionnaire to allow us to hear your views and help us to draft the new strategy.

Thank you very much for your time.



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* 1. Are you aware that Knowsley Council has an Empty Homes Strategy?

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* 2. The themes of our previous strategy were: Improved communication, effective enforcement, enhanced advice and support to owners and residents, increased partnership working, enhanced knowledge and information.  Do you agree with these themes?

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* 3. Are there any themes you think which would be more suitable?

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* 4. Are you aware of services we provide for owners of empty properties?

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* 5. Have you ever used any of these services? Please select all that apply.

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* 6. Do you feel that the council supports you as an empty home owner?

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* 7. How did you acquire the empty property?

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* 8. How long has the property been empty?

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* 9. What condition is the property in?

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* 10. How often does the property cause you problems?

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* 11. What are the barriers preventing the property being brought back into use? Please select all that apply.

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* 12. When do you believe the property will be occupied?

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* 13. What more do you believe the council could do support you and tackle the issue of empty properties.

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* 14. When do you believe the council should intervene with empty properties?

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* 15. What issues justify the council intervening? Please rank your top 3 reasons with 1 being the main reason.

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* 16. Any further comments?