Lewisham Liberal Democrats have obtained figures that show there are 939 empty homes in the Borough.
Chris Maines, Mayoral Candidate says “It is so frustrating for families in urgent need of a home to see properties left empty.”
The figures show 83 homes have remained empty for more than five years. “We have identified properties owned by the Council that are boarded up and left vacant. These long term empty houses are an insult to people struggling to find a home for their family,” Chris Maines adds, “It is in everybody’s interest that these properties are brought back into use. The Council gets rent and Council Tax, neglected properties can be an unsightly blight for the local the community, and of course, families need homes”.
The figures show that of the 939 properties have been empty for more than 6 months, 83 have remained unoccupied for 5 years and four Lewisham homes have been left empty for more than 10 years.
Chris Maines says “My concern is the trend, with new flats being sold in the Far East, that more of Lewisham’s housing stock will be left empty and used as part of an investment portfolio rather than as much needed homes.”
He added “There are some good reasons why a private house needs to remain empty for a period of time but not year after year. Decisions regarding empty social housing need to be taken quickly to avoid long term voids”.
“When the shortage of affordable housing is a crisis in Lewisham, it is hard to justify homes remaining empty for year after year.”
“The Council have powers to bring some properties back into use. Lewisham Council has used these powers a few times but it is too little and a lot more needs to be done to tackle the problem.”