Ealing Council. Sourced from Unsplash

A third of long-term vacant dwellings in Ealing are council owned

New figures show the local authority owns 31% of long-term vacant dwellings in Ealing which are left vacant and unfurnished for over six months.

Figures released by Ealing Council reveal the local authority (LA) owns 402 long-term vacant dwellings in the borough and a further 1317 vacant dwellings which aren’t long-term vacant; bringing the total to 1719 empty households.

Ghost Town: There are an estimated 1296 long-term vacant dwellings in Ealing

According to data published by City Hall in May 2023, there were 553 long-term vacant dwellings in Ealing at an estimated £550,000 per property, bringing the total estimated value of long-term vacant dwellings in the borough to £304,150,000.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s a scandal that so many much-needed homes across London lie vacant in the midst of a housing crisis.

“That’s why I’m working with Westminster City Council to call on the Government to implement a range of measures to crack down on long-term empty homes, including the devolution of powers so that local councils can set higher rates of council tax on vacant properties.”

The Mayor also urged ministers to make the process easier for local authorities to take-over empty homes temporarily using Empty Dwelling Management Orders.

Figures release by Ealing council show the number of local authority-owned vacant dwellings in Ealing which aren’t long-term has dropped slightly by 9% from 1456 in March 2022 to 1317 in October 2023 but the figure still remains significantly higher than previous years.

According to Ealing Data, in 2022 45.1% of non long-term vacant dwellings in the borough were owned by the local authority compared to the London average of 12.8% and the national average of 4.9% in England.

That same year Ealing Council was second only to Southwark Council- with 1632 vacant dwellings owned – out of all 32 London boroughs.

Data published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities revealed that in October 2022, there were 676,304 recorded empty homes in England with 248,149 classed as long-term vacant properties for council tax purposes.

If a private property is left vacant and unfurnished, some councils allow for a council tax reduction for a period of time – often a month – however the reduction amount depends on the policy of the local authority and some councils can levy a surcharge of up to 300%.

Derelict Decade: Ealing has some of the highest rates for local authority owned vacant dwellings in London since 2013.

The Action on Empty Homes organisation – which aims to bring empty homes into use for those in housing need – claimed on their website that: “The latest Government data shows around 250,000 properties in England have stood empty for more than six months but that isn’t the whole story of England’s empty homes.

“Another 200,000 empty homes are covered by exemptions and do not pay any council tax.”

Rebecca Moore, the Director of Action on Empty Homes, said: “During a national housing crisis we cannot afford to see half a million homes stand empty because of the lack of a government strategy to support councils to bring them back into use.”

Ealing Council owns a total of 10,812 social housing units as of October 2023 and pledged to start building 4,000 “genuinely affordable” homes between May 2022 and April 2026.

The local authority released information showing that since May 2022, construction has started on 1,305 of the 4000 homes of which 386 are social rent.

Further figures release by Ealing Council show the number of homeless people in temporary accommodation in Ealing includes 2,610 households and 2,428 households were owed Homeless Reduction Act duties since January 2023.

Ealing Council declined to comment.

Feature image credit: Unsplash

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