ISLANDERS have reported 110 ‘vacant’ properties to the Empty Homes Service in its opening week.
Housing Minister David Warr has said the homes will now be subject to a case review, to determine what can be done to help bring them back into use.
The Empty Homes Service service – launched at the start of this month – forms part of Deputy Warr’s Action on Vacant Properties plan, a 35-page document outlining six main objectives designed to tackle the problem.
Around 4,000 houses were recorded as empty on the day of the 2021 census, but Deputy Warr has said the true number was estimated to be approximately 900.
The new service allows Islanders to report a property they believe to be empty via an online form on the gov.je website.
Announced in November, the plan also considered more drastic measures – such as new taxes on vacant homes and the use of compulsory purchase powers.
However, Deputy Warr has said he hopes the initial actions, such as the ‘community-led reporting mechanism’ and Empty Homes Service will avoid the need to be ‘heavy handed’.
‘I’m so pleased with the way in which Islanders have responded to the launch of the Empty Homes Service. To have got information coming through relating to over 100 properties in these first few days means we can start to build up a clearer picture and begin to find solutions,’ he added.
‘Where empty homes are also in a neglected and poor condition, we will consider these for referral to the Regulation team, where land-condition notices requiring the owner of the property to take action can be served, in line with the Planning and Building Law.’
Deputy Warr is due to report on the activities of the service later this year, with the view to bring in additional measures if ‘necessary’.