Speaking later, David Kidney noted: The Government is planning to introduce a Housing Green paper later this year along with Urban and Rural White papers, these would be the ideal opportunity to introduce the measures set out in my Empty Homes Bill and supported by the Urban Task Force. These proposals have cross party support, Building inspection I urge the Government to include these in their future legislative programme.
A call for empty homes to be ‘secured sensibly and sensitively’ to avoid a downward spiral of housing blight was made by Ashley Horsey, Chief Executive of the Empty Homes Agency (EHA) at Housing 99, Harrogate on 23rd June 1999.
He noted that the excessive use of steel shutters and doors can create a real climate of hopelessness on estates increasing the chance of tenancies being refused and vacancy rates rising. Mr Horsey made his plea for sensitive void security and management together with imaginative solutions to tackle more than 750,000 empty homes in England alone during talks with void protection managers on the Sitex stand.
Andrew Mapstone of Sitex reported their void security managers had already de-secured and returned to the community 4,000 public sector homes in the eight weeks since the EHA’s National Week of Action on Empty Homes, which ended on 23rd April 1999.
These homes had been protected during the vulnerable re-let period. He added It is now more possible than ever before to match security measures to the changing life-cycle of an empty property, to avoid over securing and to help the re-letting process.
For example, a new initiative that imaginatively combines security measures with insurance cover deters wasteful over securing by making the contractor responsible both for the level of security and for the insurance cover.