'Sell or let empty homes cheaply'
Councils and landlords should sell or let empty properties at discounted prices in a bid to reclaim the one million empty homes in the UK, a housing charity said.
Empty Homes also called on the Government to allow local authorities to charge higher council tax on long-term empty homes so the revenue generated can be reinvested in bringing more vacant properties into use.
The charity, which has launched a week-long awareness campaign on the issue, said Britain's housing shortage should be a "priority" for the Coalition.
In a letter for publication in newspapers, Empty Homes chief executive David Ireland said: "There are tens of thousands of houses lying empty in areas where big regeneration schemes have failed.
"These range from entirely empty council estates in London, and whole streets of empty housing in cities in the north of England, to individual redundant school caretakers', and park keepers' houses.
"Many of these 'empties' are in need of work and in current market conditions won't make a sufficient return for developers to buy them.
"However, many of them could make fantastic homes for people who are prepared to do some work on them themselves.
"I am now calling on councils to help by disposing of their own abandoned housing at discounted prices directly to people to renovate and live in as their sole home."
Two million families need a home and 100,000 more new builds are required each year, as building rates slump to their lowest level since the 1920s, according to statistics.
The Government has invested £150m to tackle some of the worst areas of empty housing in England.