Background and business case

East Riding of Yorkshire Council covers approximately 930 square miles, making it one of the largest unitary authorities in the country. As such, there are a range of housing markets operating across the area, with some examples of market failure, particularly along the east coast. With almost 7,000 households on the Housing Register and very little private investment in these areas, the Council has stepped in by purchasing private properties on the open market, refurbishing them and adding to the Council’s stock to be rented to those in greatest need. The scheme will deliver 70 properties over three years (2018-21) with 25 of them being classed as empty homes (6 months+).

This scheme follows on from successful earlier Purchase & Repair grant funded programmes in 2012-15 and 2015-18. The properties acquired are predominantly in areas of higher demand areas across the East Riding where there is an identified need for that type and size of property.

The homes acquired are purchased with vacant possession and the combined cost of buying and bringing the properties up to a lettable condition must represent value for money for the Council. A large proportion of the homes acquired are ex-council that have been converted to private lets.

The Purchase & Repair / Empty Homes programme has strict limits as to how much can be spent on properties bringing them up to a lettable standard. In the case of the East Riding the upper repairs limits are £13k per property for Purchase & Repair and £20k for Empty Homes. Typically the improved properties will benefit from the installation of a new central heating system, a full rewire, new kitchen fittings and the replacement of bathroom white goods.

Partners involved

  • Homes England
  • East Riding of Yorkshire

Programme Costs

Total scheme costs: £8,420,000

Value of Affordable Homes Programme support for scheme: £2,325,000

Scheme size – 70 of which 25 are long term empty


Increasing the supply of affordable housing in areas of need

Bringing empty properties back into use

Increasing the supply of good quality homes

Lessons learnt

As we have been fortunate to receive funding from Homes England for this scheme since 2012, over the years we have streamlined processes. This includes working with colleagues in legal and valuation services and our contractor to deliver the scheme on time, on budget and compliant with grant conditions. Housing management and maintenance colleagues also feed into the process early to ensure the property can be let quickly and is easy to maintain.

“The investment from Homes England allows East Riding of Yorkshire Council to purchase properties of high demand in areas where the market is failing to deliver. This means that there are few very S106 properties coming forward from the private sector which adds to the demand for affordable housing. By targeting our acquisition programme in these areas and on long term empty properties we can correct some of the problems caused by market failure, meet housing need and replenish stock lost through the Right to Buy. The funding ensures the homes are genuinely affordable and refurbished to a high standard”.

Helen McEgan Principal Asset Officer

Future plans

The Purchase and Repair / Empty Homes scheme is one part of the Council’s ambitious development programme. We will continue to bid for affordable homes funding through CME to deliver new homes in areas of high demand to meet housing need in accordance with our Business Plan targets and strategic housing priorities.