We recognise that long term empty properties are a wasted asset and have an active empty property programme. Empty property can be a problem for the owners and neighbours with vandalism, squatting, theft, arson, burst pipes all being possibilities.
What you can do
If you are concerned about a vacant property you can report it to us. We will do our best to contact the owner and help them bring the property back into use. If you can provide as much information as you can regarding the property and the owner, that maybe useful.
If you have see an empty property and are interested in purchasing it. We might be able to help. If we are aware of the property and hold the owner's details, we may be able to pass your expression of interest on.
Your responsibilities if you own an empty property
It is recommended that if your property is left empty for a period of time, that you provide a neighbour with contact details to allow them to make contact with you just in case there are any problems. They can then be reported to you directly to be acted upon as necessary.
You should visit the property regularly to ensure the following:
- The property is secure
- Gardens are maintained in a reasonable condition
- External appearance of the house is kept in good order
- The property is not in a condition so as to cause defects or a nuisance to neighbouring homes
What we do
We want to assist owners of empty properties to bring them back into use and do contact all owners of empty properties once they have been unoccupied for 6 months or more, offering assistance with renovation, letting, selling advice along with an option of loans and small grants. We will help owners to obtain estimates and assist with details of competent contractors.
In some circumstances, the council awards empty homes grants to the owners of empty properties to assist with the costs of repairs and improvements needed to bring a property into a condition fit for renting. These are subject to conditions and we are keen to assist with leasing schemes which can offer owners guaranteed rental income and in some cases an introductory bonus payment. More information about funding schemes.
If owners do not respond then enforcement action is considered and we have a rating scheme for this. Where necessary and where everything else fails an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) or a Compulsory Purchase Order can be sought and the council can ultimately take control of property left empty for long periods.
Every empty property recorded on the council tax register is visited and checked for condition and occupancy and photographed at least once each year and normally more frequently.