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Action Plan To Tackle Empty Homes

Housing Minister Deputy David Warr has released a six-point action plan to get vacant properties back on the market.

Next year's parish rate declarations will give the minister a rough idea of how many homes are unoccupied.

However, Deputy Warr says the problem isn't as big as previously predicted.

"Last years census came up with around 4,000 empty properties but we estimate that the number is actually nearer 900."

Islanders will be able to report homes they suspect to be empty through an 'Empty Homes Service', which will be set up in the New Year.

"People who have vacant properties can get in touch with us too. The idea is that we try and identify why properties remain empty and try and get that back into the market and into a home again."

Currently, the housing minister has little power to deal with unoccupied houses and their owners, but the report does mention the option of introducing new laws.

They could include taxes on vacant properties or even compulsory purchase orders.

But the minster says he isn't looking at those options just yet.

"We are going to review the situation in six months to see where we have got to and if we need to use any bigger and heavier levers.

If, after that time, we see that extra charges are the way forward, it would take roughly another 18 months to deliver."

Other actions in the plan include:

• Work in partnership with the Minister for Environment to more proactively manage land conditions and make better use of existing homes in the Island

• Help His Majesty’s Receiver General to identify vacant and owner-less properties and bring them back into active use

• Support States-owned entities in the purchase and redevelopment of vacant properties, whilst encouraging the development of local skills and meeting wider Government objectives for construction, innovation and carbon neutrality

• Establish an Empty Homes Service to provide advice to Islanders, monitor and analyse demand and policy development, and, make referrals to the Regulation Directorate and HM Receiver General

You can read Deputy Warr's full report here.

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