Action on Empty Homes has revealed a total of 6,172 residential properties in Kent are unoccupied.
Medway has the highest number of unoccupied properties at 1,144, which is a 16% increase on last year’s figures.
Cllr Naushabah Khan, Medway Labour & Co-op Spokesperson for Housing said, ‘There are over one thousand Medway residents currently living in temporary accommodation, with over 600 of these being children. In theory these long-term empty properties could house all of those currently living in expensive and insecure temporary housing.
‘The fact that homes in the lowest council tax band are most likely to be left empty suggests that these properties have the potential to help hundreds of people in temporary accommodation, who are struggling to get on the housing ladder, are unable to afford private rents, or unable to secure social housing.
‘Long-term empty homes also have a pernicious impact on the surrounding community by keeping people locked out of secure and affordable housing, and encouraging vandalism, antisocial behaviour, fly tipping, and other nuisance behaviour.
‘Funding cuts from central government has resulted in Medway Council losing their dedicated empty property officers, who worked to identify empty properties and bring them back into use.
‘Continuing resource pressures on housing and planning enforcement departments caused by Tory austerity has meant that empty properties are simply not a priority for local authorities.
‘A Labour government will reverse the decade of cuts to local government budgets, allowing Medway to reinstate empty property officers who had such a positive impact on our community.’
- More than 6,000 empty homes in Kent worth an estimated £1.8bn
- Councils ‘ripped off’ by private landlords, experts warn https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/01/councils-ripped-off-by-private-landlords-experts-warn