Latest figures show as of September 2015, there are just over 1,100 empty homes on the Island which equates to 1.5% of all housing stock. This compares to 1,600 empty homes in April 2014.
Much of the reduction is due to council staff identifying and working with owners of empty homes to ensure they are brought back into use, such as refurbishing them or selling them on the open market.
When a property is identified as being empty for a long period, the council’s empty homes team get in touch with the owners of the property to discuss options for bringing it back into use. Should this not work, the council can use legal enforcement powers although this is a last resort.
Councillor Steve Stubbings, whose portfolio includes housing, said:
“Empty homes can often be in a state of disrepair and can also be an eyesore while attracting anti-social behaviour or criminal activity.
“Bringing them back into use is important as it not only improves the local area, it gives people who are looking for properties further options in what is often a crowded market.”
Councillor Lora Peacey-Wilcox, who has special responsibility for housing and homeless, added:
“There has been a lot of work in this area and for the Isle of Wight to be well under the government’s target is testament to the work council officers are doing to reduce the number of empty properties.
“I have been working very closely with officers in relation to the council’s housing agenda and this latest reduction in empty homes provides an excellent platform for the future”.
Many cases also include the involvement of the local authority’s council tax team working with owners to recover any outstanding money owed.
Properties in Wroxall, Shanklin, Ryde, Wootton, Newport and Sandown are amongst those to have been brought back into use recently. Photographed is a development undertaken on Embankment Road, Bembridge.