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Vacant Dwellings

Volume 118: debated on Monday 29 June 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the percentage of empty dwellings in (a) private sector, (b) public sector, (c) those owned and controlled by Her Majesty's Government and (d) housing associations; and if he will publish from the local authorities housing investment returns for 1 April 1987 the number and percentage of vacant dwellings in the local authority housing associations, other public sectors and the private sector giving totals for each.

Local authorities' 1987 housing investment programme returns are not yet available.The latest estimates of vacant housing in England, based on the authorities' 1986 HIP returns, are as follows :

Vacant dwellings as a percentage of total slock at 1 April 1986—England
per cent.
Local authorities2·5
Housing associations3·2
Other public sector6·6
Private sector4·1
All sectors3·7
The "other public sector" figures include local authorities' overspill estates, in addition to housing owned by new towns, county councils (for example police houses), Government Departments, nationalised industries and other public agencies. Many of them are vacant because of operational requirements, notably those owned by MOD and others have been acquired for demolition, for example by Department of Transport. The Government are encouraging the sale of housing which is not required, and many of those that are vacant are in the process of disposal.Housing associations' acquisition of dwellings for rehabilitation inflate the numbers which are vacant.Vacant dwellings in the private sector include those which are in severe disrepair, those undergoing renovation or awaiting demolition, those which are empty while being sold or between lettings, and those whose owners do not wish to occupy or sell them but are deterred from letting by the Rent Act.