Empty homes can be a nuisance to communities, attracting vandals and squatters, resulting in petty crime and anti-social behaviour. These homes can fall into disrepair quickly and adversely affect the amenity of an area and the value of neighbouring properties. There is good reason why some empty homes remain as such (e.g. probate). However, for reasons that are unknown, some owners seem inclined not to want to do anything with these properties and some seem to be simply abandoned.
How the council can help
The council is keen to see wasted homes put to good use and will endeavour to influence this where it can. The council has a number of measures in place to discourage properties from being left vacant for long periods and to encourage empty homes to be brought back into use:
- Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme - The council's scheme is intended to help people who are homeless or in housing need, by offering landlords or ladies a guarantee to cover loss or damage to the property (beyond fair wear and tear). The deposit guarantee is not a solution to an emergency situation as the application may take five to ten working days. For more information click here.
- Council Tax Policy – The council’s policy on council tax has recently been amended and a 50% premium will be applied to properties that have been empty for more than two years (unless a statutory exemption applies). More information will follow shortly on the council tax web pages.
Our council tax service hold much more comprehensive records of empty properties. Unfortunately under the Data Protection Act, we are unable to pass on information which is classed as personal data and relates to an individual. We can only release information on empty houses where the owner is classed as a `non-individual' for example the property is owned by a company.
The council will continue to record empty homes as and when they arise so that there is an up to date list available should legislation and/or policy change and the council finds itself in a more favourable position to act.
If you wish to report an empty home, or own an empty home and would like guidance on putting it back into use and receiving a rental income for it, please contact Environmental Health using the contact details specified on the right hand side.
Last reviewed: 18 - 02 - 2013