Empty Homes Agency

Funding at a glance

Amount: £79,950 grant
Approved: 2014

Using funding from the Nationwide Foundation, the campaigning charity Empty Homes undertook research: Affordable homes from empty commercial spaces.

The research was launched in July 2016 and identifies that with high levels of long-term empty commercial space languishing in many areas where people are priced out of decent housing, conversion to affordable homes can make sense.

The research found that structural issues rarely created a major impediment to conversion to housing. More often, the challenges are around perceptions on the part of the owners of property, who may not realise its potential to be brought into housing use in an economically viable way.

However, the research makes clear that where commercial property has a long-term viable future for its existing use, this should be maintained. The research does not suggest ‘poaching’ property from the commercial sector to the residential sector.

The research draws on case studies of local authority partnerships which have been successful in converting empty commercial spaces into affordable homes. It also made a number of recommendations to local authorities and government to enable more of this type of conversion.


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