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Empty Properties

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on bringing empty properties back into use since 1997. (206437)

Since 1997, the number of empty homes has reduced by 10 per cent. to 672,924 dwellings or some 3.1 per cent. of the housing stock.

During that time we have been working closely with the independent Empty Homes Agency to encourage local authorities to tackle empty homes in their areas. We have also introduced new powers to allow local authorities to take over the management of private sector empty homes (Empty Dwelling Management Orders) where a voluntary approach is not successful.

As a further incentive, from 2008, VAT will be charged at 5 per cent. on renovation of homes empty for two years or longer.