We’re taking action on empty homes

As part of Empty Homes Week Camden Council is focusing on empty properties that have helped provide homes for homeless families.

Among the Council’s success stories is a property in Kilburn consisting of a ground floor shop and three floors of unused offices that had been empty for over five years.

After further investigation it was found that a planning application had been granted to convert the offices into three self-contained flats. Following advice and support from the Council, the owner applied for a Housing Renewal Grant and was able to complete the works.

The conversion provided housing for three separate families. We spoke to one of the happy tenants who got to move into her new home with her son over the summer.

“We are now so happy in our new home we have our own space and my son has his own room and can invite his friends over, which is something he couldn’t do before when we lived in a hostel.

“Everything is within walking distance, which is good for me due to my health problems. I can now walk to the shops and the GP.”

Councillor Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes said:

“We are leading by example and have reduced our own empty council homes significantly. There are a number of reasons why privately owned properties fall into disrepair and we’re calling on owners of empty properties to come forward for help on getting their properties back into use. Bringing privately owned empty homes up to a liveable standard and reducing our own empty council homes helps increase the borough’s housing stock - providing much needed housing for residents.

“We’re also taking action on homeowners who leave their properties unoccupied for two years or more by charging 100% extra on their Council Tax bill, and as a last resort if owners fail to bring an empty property back into use, we can take enforcement action.”

Chris Bailey from Action on Empty Homes said:

"Every empty home is an opportunity to make a family's life better. It is great to see Camden Council turning those opportunities into reality through their empty homes grants. These allow those in need of housing in Camden to be housed in renovated empty properties. 

“This is exactly the approach which Action on Empty Homes advocates. What we want to see is central Government matching the investment being made by councils like Camden so that many more empty homes can be brought back into use and levels of homelessness can be reduced, instead of rising year after year, while perfectly good homes stand empty."

Over the last five years, Camden has helped to bring 449 empty privately-owned properties back into use. Over 80 homeless families or single households have been housed in once empty properties and now have a place they can call home.

If you own an empty property and would like support or advice on bringing your home back into use, or if you’re a resident and would like to report an empty privately-owned property contact 020 7974 4158.