THE Housing Minister has spoken about the challenges that the number of empty houses in Jersey presents at a recent conference in the UK.
Deputy David Warr’s speech also focused on the Island’s newly-created Empty Homes Service and how it operates.
The service was launched earlier this year to enable Islanders to report a property they believe to be empty via an online form on the gov.je website.
Around 4,000 houses were recorded as ‘empty’ on the day of the 2021 census, but Deputy Warr has said that the true number was estimated to be around 900 properties.
The annual Empty Homes Network Conference in Birmingham was attended by organisations across the UK and Europe that specialise in bringing empty homes back onto the market. At the conference, Deputy Warr labelled empty homes as a ‘massive issue’ for the British Isles.
He said: ‘The impact of a high rate of vacant homes is far-reaching.
‘Not only does it put unnecessary pressure on the need to build more homes, but it can also diminish the quality of neighbourhoods and the environment, where properties fall into disrepair.
‘Not all vacant homes are visible or, indeed, in a state of dilapidation.’
It has been estimated that there are over 248,000 empty homes in the UK.
Speaking following the conference, Deputy Warr said he was the ‘only politician’ in attendance at the event, which was attended by 200 delegates, including representatives from councils, legal advisors and housing organisations.
‘We, as an Island, are very fledgling in this issue.
‘It is an issue that people can sometimes turn a blind eye to,’ said Deputy Warr.