A new study by “Action on Empty Homes” and the Nationwide Building Society states that 2018 saw the largest rise in long term empty houses in England for more than a decade. Their evidence shows that this number increased by 11,000 in 2018, twice as many than in 2017, and suggests that action is necessary to bring them back into use, to help ease the ever-growing housing crisis. With more than 200,000 long term empty houses in England and more than a million people on housing waiting lists, the two sides of this story should be joined together so that these premises are not wasted. Empty properties can be found throughout the council tax bands, but there are more in the lowest band (Band A) and in the highest (Band H).

Joe Garner, the chief executive of Nationwide, said: “Concerted action and funding are needed from the government and the housing sector to identify and tackle the growing issue of empty homes.

Will McMahon, the director of Action on Empty Homes, said: “With homeless numbers at their highest levels in over a decade, it makes no sense to leave hundreds of thousands of homes standing long-term empty.”

Over 8 million people are living in unsuitable housing, which is more than the population of London. Research has shown that 3.5 million people live in homes that are designed for fewer people than they are serving. Over 2 million cannot properly afford where they live, and the same amount again are living with parents and relatives, who would rather have a place of their own. England has 1.5 million people who live in substandard conditions.

Other research shows that couples who have experienced a relationship breakdown, are forced to remain together; others, return to their parents because they cannot afford the rent or the deposit for a place of their own as the shortage of properties continues and rents rise due to demand.