More than 720 homes in the Mansfield area are currently empty, shock figures have shown.
As Mansfield District Council looks to create a local plan to identify the number of homes that need to be built in the area over the next 17 years to cope with the growing population, stats show that hundreds of homes all across the region are not being utilised.
The majority of the properties are privately owned and more than 171 have been left unoccupied for over a year.
Mansfield District Council is now desperate for the owners to attract new tenants or buyers.
The council’s portfolio holder for housing Coun Barry Answer said: “There’s always been a high number of properties in this area, and I find it hard to understand.
“We have such a high waiting list at the council and it would be nice if these homes could be rented out to the people of Mansfield.
“It’s a waste if they are sat there empty.
“There are many reasons why a property can be empty, sometimes there are emotional ties when a property used to belong to a person’s parents.
“Sometimes a property can be empty because the owner has run out of money to renovate it.
“There can come a point where we can take control of these properties through a compulsory purchase order if the owners are not willing to do anything with them, but we don’t want to go down that route.
“We want to support not enforce.”
A statistical breakdown of the most affected areas shows the Portland ward area of the town has more than 53 unused homes.
Behind that is Ladybrook with 41 and then the Woodlands ward with 37 homes.
Portland also has 21 homes that have been left empty for at least two years, more than any other area.
In contrast, Oak Tree has the fewest number of empty homes with just six, none of which have been empty for more than two years.
And as long as the buildings sit vacant, experts say it could be causing issues for others living nearby.
Neil Temple, residential director at estate agents David Blount Ltd, said those living on streets with empty homes could see their own properties values being dragged down as a result.
He said: “Potentially, empty properties could have a detrimental impact on property prices but the likelihood now is that there are empty houses on most higher density streets. “As long as their appearance isn’t too shocking, then the impact will be less.
“It becomes more troublesome when properties are boarded up or have shutters fitted.
“This can give the impression that the area has a problem with vandalism or break ins.
“If it is individual properties that are empty, then there isn’t so much of a problem, more so though if there is a cluster of them.
“However, I’m sure none of us want to live next door to a property that has been empty for a long period of time.”
In an effort to turn the problem around, invitations have now been sent to the owners asking them to attend a free event today, Wednesday, March 23, offering advice about bringing properties back into use.
Held at Kelham Hall, near Newark, it is being called ‘Use Don’t Lose’, it is aimed at anyone with an interest in property, including investors, tenants, developers, lettings experts, estate agents and other experts in the property field.
Among them will be the empty property officer from Mansfield District Council who can offer advice, such as making use of the council’s MARS (Multi Agency Rented Solutions) scheme.
This scheme provides good-quality private rented homes for people in Mansfield and surrounding areas by matching families to properties. People can apply for a MARS property if they are at risk of losing their home, have no settled accommodation and/or are in housing need.
Owners attending could also find out how to turn their empty property into a regular income, a lump sum or to renovate it.
The experts on hand will be able to answer questions about how best to sell a property, how to let it, how to deal with difficult tenants, legal issues, tax implications, refurbishment problems and other issues such as anti-social behaviour, arson, cannabis farms, squatters, vandalism, graffiti and fly tipping.
Coun Answer said: “This event may help owners find ways round any problems they may be having and to help them to get a better investment return from their property rather than have a building standing empty.”
“Helping to reduce the number of empty properties in the district would be a win-win situation for everyone.
“It would make more homes available for local people to buy or rent, it would reduce the problem of empty properties falling into disrepair which can be an eyesore for an area, and for the owners it could bring a decent return on a building that is currently delivering nothing to them.”
Portland 53 empty homes (21 for more than two years)
Ladybrook 41 empty homes (11 for more than two years)
Woodlands 37 empty homes (3 for more than two years)
Bull Farm and Pleasley Hill 35 empty homes (20 for more than two years)
Warsop Carrs 31 empty homes (10 for more than two years)
Newgate 29 empty homes (6 for more than two years)
Broomhill 27 empty homes (8 for more than two years)
Sandhurst 26 empty homes (6 for more than two years)
Maun Valley 26 empty homes (2 for more than two years)
Netherfields 25 empty homes (7 for more than two years)
Berry Hill 24 empty homes (6 for more than two years)
Yeoman Hill 24 empty homes (4 for more than two years)
Market Warsop 23 empty homes (6 for more than two years)
Grange Farm 19 empty homes (2 for more than two years)
Woodhouse 18 empty homes (2 for more than two years)
Meden 17 empty homes (5 for more than two years)
Carr Bank 17 empty homes (3 for more than two years)
Park Hall 16 empty homes (4 for more than two years)
Racecourse 16 empty homes (2 for more than two years)
Brick Kiln 16 empty homes (1 for more than two years)
Eakring 15 empty homes (5 for more than two years)
Sherwood 15 empty homes (2 for more than two years)
Manor 15 empty homes (2 for more than two years)
Holly 14 empty homes (3 for more than two years)
Oakham 14 empty homes (3 for more than two years)
Penniment 13 empty homes (3 for more than two years)
Kingswalk 13 empty homes (0 for more than two years)
Lindhurst 12 empty homes (3 for more than two years)
Peafield 10 empty homes (1 for more than two years)
Ling Forest 9 empty homes (2 for more than two years)
Hornby 7 empty homes (0 for more than two years)
Abbott 7 empty homes (1 for more than two years)
Oak Tree 6 empty homes (0 for more than two years)