The Council's Environmental and Health Services has powers to require owners of empty homes or commercial premises to keep them secure and free from rubbish. The Housing Standards Team also have enforcement powers to bring long term empty homes back into use, where they are causing nuisance problems for the local community.
If you know of any vacant or unsecured houses where owners fail to bring them back into occupation, please contact us with the details via our dedicated email address email@example.com
- The property next door to me is empty and unsecure
- The property next door to me is unoccupied and is causing damp within my home
- I am interested in purchasing an empty property
- I own an empty property. What are my responsibilities whilst it is empty?
- I own an empty property. What will happen if I do not bring it back into use?
We can serve a legal notice upon the owner of an open building to have the building made secure within 48 hours. If the owner of the building fails to comply with the notice we can carry out the works in default and re-charge the owner. Where it is considered that emergency works are required we will secure the property as soon as is reasonably possible and then re-charge the owner for the cost of works.
Where we can prove that a problem at your home is being caused by a defect on a neighbouring property there are various legal notices that can be served asking an owner to remedy those defects within a reasonable time period. If a person fails to comply with a notice the Council may then carry out the necessary work and re-charge the owner. An owner can also be prosecuted for failing to comply with a notice.
The Authority might hold the owner's details, and if so, may be able to pass your details onto that person with your request. The Council cannot give you details of the owners of any properties, because such information is subject to data protection.
It is recommended that if the property is left empty that you provide any immediate neighbours with your contact details. Any problems can then be reported to you directly to be acted upon.
You should visit the property regularly to ensure the following:
- it is secure
- any gardens are maintained to a reasonable standard
- the external appearance of the house is kept in good order, and
- the property is not in a condition so as to cause defects to neighbouring homes.
If you fail to keep the property secure, free from rubbish and in a reasonable condition, we will contact you to advise you of your responsibilities. If you do not fix the problems in a reasonable time we may have powers to serve you a notice to do works. If you fail to do these works we could prosecute you or do works on your behalf and then seek re-payment.
We would always prefer to work with you to make sure that the home is brought back into use in a way that benefits both yourself and the community. If the home has been empty for over 6 months and is causing problems for neighbours, we may have the power to take action to bring your home back into use without your consent.
The Council does have various Enforcement Powers to ensure a property is brought back into use. These include (but are not limited to) Enforced Sales, Compulsory Purchase Orders and Empty Dwelling Management Orders. For an overview of the Council's powers please see our Empty Homes Strategy.
If the empty property is a home, our Housing Standards Team may be able to assist you in bringing the home back into use. Visit our empty homes assistance page to find out more.
If the empty property is for commercial/business use, then you can contact our Economic Development Team who may be able to help with finding an occupier and inward investment. To find out more, please make an email enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org