Existing homes

Existing homes

The Housing Board works with partners to raise the standard of existing homes and encourage best use of all homes. For properties this includes assessing the condition of homes; tackling overcrowding and empty homes and reducing fuel poverty. For residents it includes helping to increase financial capability; to avoid debt; to keep, get or seek work; and to navigate the welfare benefit system.

Covid-19 booklet

Some districts across our housing area have produced a booklet giving useful tips and guidance for people living in buildings with shared areas, including Houses in Multiple Occupation, or HMOs.

Within the goverment guidance are some handy tips about cleaning, laundry, ventilation and shared areas which we have put into this booklet, to make it as easy to find as possible and help reduce the threat, and the spread, of covid-19 .

The booklets are provided here in pdf forumat, and are being distributed locally. The text is largely the same but contact details for local housing teams on page 2 differ.

The local picture

What data do we have and use to analyse the condition and use of existing homes across our housing market area?

Partners across our local area work together to improve housing conditions improve energy efficiency reduce the risks posed by poor quality and unsuitable housing particularly for vulnerable people help bring empty homes back into use work to reduce both under-occupation and overcrowding.

Housing stock condition atlas

The Cambridge & Peterborough Housing Stock Condition Atlas shows data relevant to housing stock and wider issues across our local area at Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level. Users can map and chart two different data indicators from a wide selection in order to explore patterns in the area.

The tool is still being developed, it was initially commissioned by Cambridge City and Cambridge has two additional versions of the Atlas which incorporate some local, bespoke data.

Periodically, district housing teams commission a survey of housing conditions, surveying a sample of privately owned and rented homes, so they can monitor the physical condition of homes and plan any action needed, accordingly.

Across the local area, we have worked together to produce a new tool, a housing stock condition atlas which brings together existing data to help identify areas of poorest housing stock condition. This aims both to to aid and to supplement individual district surveys.

Cambridge City housing stock condition atlas

The Cambridge City Housing Stock Condition shows data relevant to housing stock and wider issues in Cambridge City at Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level. Users can map and chart two different data indicators from a wide selection in order to explore patterns in the area.

Cambridge City housing stock condition ranking tool

The Cambridge City Housing Stock Condition Ranking Tool (zip) allows users to create a pool of lower super output areas (LSOAs) that are ranked highly for a selection of data indicators they choose. The data for these LSOAs can then be viewed as a ranked list.

Data included in this tool includes:

  • Housing Complaints, Enforcement Notices
  • Energy Efficiency Ratings
  • Fuel Poverty
  • Households Without Central Heating
  • Noise Complaints and Notices
  • Overcrowding
  • Pest Control Activity
  • Indices of Deprivation

The tool is an Excel 2010 compatible file. Please note you will need to enable macros for this tool to work. A background report is available here.

District house condition surveys

Cambridge stock modelling 2015

Cambridge City Council conducts  private sector house condition surveys as a way of maintaining a detailed picture of housing conditions in the private sector. The survey results help us form strategies and inform investment decisions, and feed into statistical returns and other internal reports.

The most recent one was carried out in 2015. This was made up of two elements: a report based on modelling of the housing stock; and an interactive atlas which pulls together a range of data from other sources:

East Cambridgeshire’s Private Sector Housing Model Report 2015

East Cambridgeshire District Council commissioned the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to undertake a series of modelling exercises on their housing stock. The detailed housing stock information provided in this report will facilitate the delivery of East Cambridgeshire’s housing strategies and enable a targeted intervention approach to improve housing. You can find out more here.

Private Sector Housing Model Report


The last survey undertaken was in 2009, you can open a pdf of the report here.

Fuel poverty atlas

The Cambridgeshire Fuel Poverty Atlas  shows local data on the number and percentage of households in fuel poverty at Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level, and how this compares to other districts and across the whole country.


Tackling overcrowding and under-occupation

Huntingdonshire District Council has created a useful page of information about welfare reform and under-occupation, please click here.

Empty homes

This page provides a space to share good practice, useful links, local examples and new ideas for joint working to bring empty buildings back into use as homes, to meet housing need across our area.

Case study: Cambridge scheme to help owners bring empty properties back into use

Owners of empty properties in Cambridge are set to be offered interest-free loans to help bring them back into residential use, under a new scheme proposed by Cambridge City Council.

The loans of up to £25,000 would be offered to homeowners so that they could carry out essential renovation works such as installing a boiler, or improving bathrooms and kitchens, to bring their property up to a suitable condition to be let to tenants.

To qualify for a loan, the homeowner would need to agree to the property being rented at an affordable rate, and managed, through Town Hall Lettings – the council’s not-for-profit lettings agency – or a similar housing provider, usually for at least two years. Loans would be subject to a formal agreement and would be paid off within two to five years.

According to data from council tax records, there are estimated to be 379 empty properties in Cambridge, of which 56 have been unused for more than two years. The council has an empty homes policy and a full time officer to help make currently empty homes available for people who need housing.

The loan scheme will be a positive incentive for empty homeowners looking to bring homes that have been empty for a long period back into use.

Owners of an empty property who would like to discuss how the council can help them bring it back into use can call 01223 457622 or email env.services@cambridge.gov.uk; You can find the press release here.

Digital inclusion

Digital inclusion is all about helping people get on-line, to help keep in contact with family and friends around the world, save money, find information and get services. Getting on-line can mean saving money by shopping around, getting better deals and by comparing prices of goods and services in traditional shops with the on-line traders.

Across the UK, the average saving made by someone who is “on digital” is £744 per year; and the average is £516 for households on a low income.

  • There are between 11 million and 12.6 million people in the UK with low or no online capability.
  • There are around 4.1m people offline, who live in social housing.

Employment and digital inclusion

  • 96% of jobs require some digital skills, and around 75% of employers won’t interview someone who does not have basic digital skills.
  • There are increasing barriers for “offline” workers, for example online applications, online payslips and time sheets.

Wider benefits associated with digital inclusion

  • Improved independence and health in older people. Around 1 million people aged over 65 in the UK don’t see a family, friend or neighbour weekly; 81% said computer literacy made them feel part of the modern society.
  • Higher academic attainment at all key stages (by 2 grades at GCSE).
  • Estimated 245,000 children in social housing who lack home internet access could boost future earnings by around £1.5 billion.

Benefits to housing associations

  • Social housing providers could save over £340 million each year by using more cost effective communications with their 9.5 million residents.
  • Digital inclusion also offers an opportunity for more effective communication channels.

Lots of organisations like housing associations, GP surgeries, advice centres and the like are offering more and more services on-line. There are still of alternatives to going on-line, but it’s worth exploring.


Financial Capability Forum

This long-standing partnership forum covers Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Originally funded through the East of England Development Agency and European Social Fund, the Forum was set up to enable financial capability training and job search assistance for unemployed adults and frontline workers. Citizens Advice led a consortium of partners across the East of England. The Forum is chaired and hosted by CHS group.

You can find more detail, and meeting papers here.

Making Money Count

Making Money Count offers everyday help with money, being online, finding work and renting. All of our information is reliable, practical and easy to follow and is brought to you by organisations working across Cambridgeshire, West Norfolk and Peterborough who want to help make life fairer for everyone. To find out more – please visit the Making Money Count website.

Building Better Opportunities

The European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund are funding four projects in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme. The four projects will support people who are socially isolated, financially excluded or who have complex and multiple barriers to preparing for, finding and sustaining work.

Each project is being delivered by local partnerships, working together to make sure participants are supported as effectively as possible by the right project at the right time.

On this page we set out some information on each of the four local projects.

Work Routes

Work Routes is a voluntary programme to help long-term unemployed people start and sustain work. You can find out more here.

Housing providers

Please visit this page to find a directory of housing associations who own and manage homes in our area, the type and number of homes they manage and links to each one’s website. These are vital partners who work together to manage homes and communities across our area.

Housing guide

Please visit this page to find out about housing and related projects and services people living in the area can benefit from. The guide includes links to a variety of partners working in each district, to support new and existing residents.