CAMBRIDGE City Council is hosting sessions for the owners of empty properties, to complement national Empty Homes Week, as part of its work to bring unoccupied homes in the city back into use.
National Empty Homes Week takes place from 15-21 October, and shines a light on work being done across the country to tackle the problem of properties remaining empty, despite the shortage of affordable housing nationwide.
In Cambridge the council is currently investigating 83 ongoing cases where a property has been left unoccupied and this year has already assisted with returning 23 properties to use as homes for families, couples, groups or individuals.
This year, following Empty Homes Week, the council is inviting owners of empty homes in Cambridge to attend a free session at Cambridge Fire Station, Parkside from 12 noon to 3pm on Tuesday 30 October. People can make an appointment by phoning 01223 457632 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The sessions will give property owners the chance to speak to officers about any issues they may be having with their property, and find out about the assistance that the council can provide, including its Empty Homes Loan Scheme.
This scheme offers owners of long-term empty properties an interest-free loan to spend on renovations to bring them back to a good standard for potential residents.
The council’s empty homes work largely focuses on properties that have been empty for more than two years, or those where the owner does not appear to be working towards occupation of their property.
As well as the loans scheme, the council can offer advice to property owners on how to rent or sell their properties.
The council also helps neighbours whose property may be affected by an empty property nearby, if for example if it has been left unsecure.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “Making empty properties available for people in need of affordable housing forms an important part of our housing strategy.
“Owners whose properties are currently standing empty have an opportunity to play an important part in addressing the city’s severe shortage of housing, but we recognise they may well need assistance to bring them back into use. Our event on 30 October can provide people with some great advice and ideas to help them turn their unused properties back into much-needed homes for Cambridge people.
“If you have a property that has been standing empty for some time – or know of a property in the city that is not being lived in – please do get in touch with us.”
If you are aware of an empty property in the city, you can report it anonymously by phoning 01223 457632, emailing email@example.com or using the ‘Report an empty home’ link at www.cambridge.gov.uk/empty-homes