Purge sees 73 private homes in Ipswich brought back into use after sitting empty for long periods

A before and after look at a home brought back to life by Ipswich council.

A before and after look at a home brought back to life by Ipswich council. - Credit: Archant

More than 70 long-term empty homes in Ipswich have been brought back into use by the borough council over the last year.

A before and after look at a home brought back to life by Ipswich council.

A before and after look at a home brought back to life by Ipswich council. - Credit: Archant

To mark the launch of National Empty Homes week, the authority has been showing off its work to turn an empty property back into a home.

The council works with property owners and landlords to try to ensure empty homes are brought back into use, but in the final analysis it can take out a compulsory purchase order to buy and renovate the property.

These pictures show before and after a house was bought by the council and restored before being put back on to the market as a family home.

The council’s housing portfolio-holder, John Mowles, said: “We are committed to tackling the issue of empty homes in the town and have had increasing success.

“Last year alone we brought back into use 73 private homes that had lain empty. But we do need the public’s help to make even more of an impact – if anyone knows of a long-term empty home, let us know.

“You will be helping your neighbourhood and easing the town’s housing need.”

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He warned that an empty property can cost an owner more in maintenance, incur a council tax bill of 150%, increased insurance and loss in potential rental income. They act as a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour including squatters, vandalism, arson and rubbish dumping, he added.

And they can bring down the value of neighbouring properties, bringing the impression that an area is in decline.

Landlords or owners of empty properties could be eligible for an Empty Homes Renovation Grant of up to £10,000 to bring a property back into use that has been empty for more than a year.

In addition, the council is offering First Time Buyers Grants where properties have been empty for more than a year and the buyer has a mortgage of more than 80% and savings of less than £7,000.

The council also has an agreement with local estate agents and auctioneers who will charge an owner reduced fees when selling a long-term empty property.

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