A total of 516 homes across Rother district have remained empty for six months or more.
But this could be the tip of the iceberg says Rother District Council.
Now the council has launched a drive to bring empty homes across the district back into use.
Officers are keen to see properties bought back into use and hope that this will go some way to helping the 1,074 households on the housing register.
Owners are being offered advice on selling, letting and improving their properties on the authority’s website.
“There are many reasons why a property is left empty,” said Cllr Joy Hughes, cabinet member for housing. “With so many people needing a suitable home in the district, it seems a real waste that so many are unused.
“Empty properties can quickly become an eyesore and can be a target for crime and anti-social behaviour. Bringing these homes back into use can benefit not only the owner, but the community as a whole.”
The council hopes the offer of practical advice will encourage property owners to take action, but says officers are prepared to take action if the situation does not improve.
There are a number of options with the most likely being the issuing of a notice requiring the property owner to deal with disrepair that is having a harmful effect on the area. If not done, the council can carry out work and recover costs from the owner.