A call from a local authority earlier this week got me thinking. Everybody goes on about how expensive it is to get empty homes back into use. But the figure only means anything if you set it against the cost of doing nothing.
I did some work on this a few years ago. I threw all types of costs in as I was trying to demonstrate the total financial loss to the community.
Lost rent - £15,000 (£350 per week minus a 15% void rate)
Lost potential spend in local shops and services (Sainsburys provided some useful info on local spending patterns - I settled for something around £8k per household)
Deterioration of property £1500 (inland revenue allow 10% wear and tear so I made the same assumption and set this figure at 10% of rent)
Lost council tax £500 (Not applicable if the local authority has removed its empty homes discount)
Total loss to the community of doing nothing: £25,000 per year. Now how much was it you are prepared to spend again?