Gill Coupland and Rob Greenland, who run Leeds-based Social Business Brokers, came up with the idea for Leeds Empties after seeing George Clarke’s Great British Property Scandal programme on Channel 4 near the end of 2011. This programme highlighted the fact that there are over 2 million families in Britain living in poorly accommodated homes, struggling to pay the high rent costs. This left families with little money and even led to plummeting numbers of homelessness over the years. The programme also investigated the issues of housing problems and were able to speak to those who were affected by this crisis.
Bringing Empty Homes Back
More than 100 people, including George Clarke came to a ‘Call To Action’ in May last year, where a range of innovative approaches to bringing empty homes back into use in Leeds were explored.
Social Business Brokers have been exploring how to turn some of these ideas into long-term approaches to bringing empty homes back into use. In November 2012, they received £10,000 from Leeds City Council to trial a range of ways to bring more empties back into use. You can read more about they will be doing over the next few months by keeping an eye on our current work.
Between December 2012 and April 2013, thanks to support from Leeds City Council and the RSA we’re testing out a range of ways to help bring more empty homes back into use in Leeds, including:
Support for Social Ventures
Help existing empty-homes social enterprises to grow and support new ones to start up. Everyone is welcome to join in and support our social enterprises by attending events that we organise.
Attract Investment into Empty Homes
Make the most of opportunities to bring more money into empty homes renovation in Leeds. If you are thinking of selling an empty home in Leeds, you should consider renovating the home to help it sell quicker.
Empty Homes Doctor
Intensive one-to-one support for empty home owners, to help them bring their home back into use. Examples of home doctoring include adding driveway sealer or fixing other damages and disrepair.
Empty Homes Doctors (EHDs) are the prime source of advice and support for owners of empty homes. Some of the issues faced by empty home owners include issues relating to inheritance, probate or family disputes, finance, repairs and refurbishments.
One of the main benefits of working with an EHD is that they have strong links with local property professionals thus will be able to assist you with selling or renting your home, if that is the avenue you wish to go down. Plus, having many years working with properties, all of our EHDs have great working relationships with local suppliers meaning that fantastic discounts are usually available.
Of course this service is free and each EHD will tailor their service to suit each property owner and their aspirations.
Leeds Councils are wanting more control over being able to buy properties in Leeds that are privately owned. The government have recently started charging empty property owners higher tax costs to reduce the number of unoccupied privately owned houses.