The District Council encourages us to report empty properties.
8 per cent of total properties in East Devon are empty. [Institute for Public Policy Research]
To what extent is Sidmouth also at ‘saturation point’ when it comes to second homes, retirement homes and holiday lets? Second homes, retirement homes and holiday lets in the South West – Vision Group for Sidmouth
There has been a very insightful and helpful response to that question from a regular correspondent:
To a large extent, I should think, but then holiday lets seem to bring in tourist income year-round, too… (20+) Vision Group for Sidmouth | Facebook
She goes on to point out a very specific housing problem in these parts:
Our most burning problem is surely the number of empty properties, not just second homes that are barely used, but also and foremost, the ones that are simply left empty for a number of (mostly sentimental and invalid) reasons, the most notorious of which was at last dealt with a few years ago, now a beautiful high street thriving business. I must have a radar for these because I have already pointed out two (one in a very sorry state for over 20 years!) since the council encouraged us to report empty properties.
And she then gives a link to the District Council’s page asking us to do just that: Report an empty property – East Devon
It is actually something central government has been encouraging: Report a derelict or abandoned building – GOV.UK
There is also the promise of higher tax for empty properties, also from central government: 9 January 2023 – Council Tax could double for owners of second home or unoccupied buildings in East Devon – East Devon
In the meantime, a report came out a couple of months ago, showing the high number of empty properties:
New figures show that the number of empty homes in East Devon has risen in the last decade. Think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research said home shortages have increased rents and made home ownership unattainable. It urged the building of more houses to “ensure everyone has access to a secure, warm and affordable home.”
Census figures from the Office for National Statistics show 5,690 of 72,475 total dwellings in East Devon were unoccupied on census day in March 2021. It meant nearly 8 per cent of the 72,475 total properties in the area were empty – up from nearly 8 per cent in 2011, when the last census was undertaken.