Empty or nuisance properties
Bringing empty homes back into use has been an intrinsic part of our wider housing strategy to address low demand for many years.
Homes become empty for a number of reasons and usually this is a short term situation pending sale or re-let. Many remain empty while they are undergoing extensive renovation or improvement prior to occupation and more than half of the homes that are empty fall into these categories.
A long term empty derelict property can have a negative impact on the quality of the local environment, which in turn can create further problems in the local area that may lead to increased fear of crime, attract anti-social behaviour and make a place less attractive for local people to live in.
One of our aims is to bring empty homes back into use across the district. This can be done through agreement with the owners or in some cases through Enforced Sale.
Issues may include:
- Empty properties which are causing a problem or concern, due to poor condition, overgrown gardens etc
- People needing help or advice about repairing empty properties to bring them back into use
- People wanting advice about tracing owners of empty properties (for example they would be interested in purchasing a particular empty property)
- There are a number of privately owned empty properties in the borough, some of which are not maintained in good condition or receiving ongoing repair.
- An empty property can impact on the quality of the local environment, creating a poor image of an area. It may lead to increased fear of crime, attract anti-social behaviour and make a place less attractive for local people to live in
- An empty house can cost the owner up to £6000 a year in lost income, security costs, de-valuation and council tax charges.
We understand that every empty property is a wasted resource, particularly where there are limited opportunities for meeting housing needs in the area.
We encourage owners to ensure that every effort is made to return homes back into use, and that neighbourhoods are not unnecessarily adversely affected by empty properties.
How the Environmental Health (Residential) Team can help?
Help letting or selling a property
We can advise you on:
- Choosing an agent to manage the letting of your property
- Selling the property through an estate agent
- Selling your property through an auction house.
Help and advice renovating a property
We can advise you of the standards and requirements of property being renovated for letting purposes, and also provide you with a list of approved contractors to carry out works.
What we can do about empty and derelict properties?
Where empty properties become unsightly or become a nuisance to the community, we have a range of measures under environmental or planning legislation to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it is our policy to assist owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use.
We receive many enquiries and complaints relating to empty properties. Many of these are about empty properties being open to unauthorised access, vandalism or rubbish dumped in their yards or gardens.
We do not necessarily have the power to require the owner to ‘tidy up’ a property. However, there may be some situations where we can use powers to require work to be undertaken, if the owner does not carry out the works willingly.