From empty home to Council house

An empty property scheme completed this March has added more homes to Leeds City Council’s housing stock and returned over 129 empty properties back into use across the city.

Cllr Debra Coupar and Gerard Tinsdale welcome Sara Xavier and Valnick Gaviao to their home in Beeston, the 100th empty property brought back into use

Since the scheme began in 2015, Leeds City Council’s housing services have identified suitable properties and have secured both ‘Homes England’ and ‘Right to Buy Grant Funding’. 129 homes were successfully brought back into habitable condition, thus improving neighbourhoods.

Owners at 1,257 properties were written to and informed about the scheme, which generated responses from 400 and resulted in 237 properties being valued.

And 960 of the 1,257 properties are no longer empty showing impact beyond the 129 units completed.

Properties had been empty an average of 578 days at the point of purchase/transfer.

Sara Xavier and Valnick Gaviao moved into their new home on Northcote Drive, the 100th property to be completed, in March. They commented:

“One hundred is a nice round number. The house is nice and warm and our neighbours are really friendly on both sides. It’s such a nice area, really clean and quiet.

“We now have a really lovely home and are taking our time to put our stamp on it.”

On visiting the property with Gerard Tinsdale, head of housing management at Leeds City Council, Cllr Debra Coupar, executive member for communities said:

“It is nice to see that Miss Xavier and Mr Gaviao have settled in well to their new home and that this property is no longer a worry for neighbours in this street.

“This scheme acquired a range of properties including flats, bungalows, houses, office spaces and former caretaker houses, delivering properties in 25 of the 33 wards across the city.”