Action is being taken to tackle empty properties on the Island. The local authority has launched its Empty Property Strategy 2019-2022 to focus on those homes which have stood empty for more than two years.
An empty property is defined as a property which is unlikely to be occupied or capable of occupation and has been vacant for at least six months. A typical empty property can cost more than £8,000 a year to the owner in lost value and maintenance costs and can devalue surrounding homes by up to 18 per cent.
There are an estimated 522 empty homes across the Isle of Wight, including 154 that have been empty for over two years. as well as several vacant commercial premises with the potential for conversion to affordable or rented homes. While the Council plans to work with owners to bring properties back into use, particularly those that are blighting a neighbourhood or causing antisocial behaviour, it has warned it will consider using enforcement action if they remain empty.
Councillor Barry Abraham, Cabinet member for Planning and Housing, said: “High levels of empty properties are recognised as having a serious impact on the viability of communities. Knock-on effects can increase decline and give the appearance of deprivation, which can affect the health of those living in the community. Empty properties can also have a negative impact on our tourism trade.
“Achieving the aims and objectives of this strategy will require a creative, focused and committed partnership approach. While the economic situation and resource implications are challenging, I do believe this is a realistic and achievable strategy.”