Leaving a home empty can have a negative impact on the community and the value of the owner’s home. The longer that a home is left empty the more likely it is to attract vandalism, anti-social behaviour and fall into disrepair.
If you are an empty home owner you have certain responsibilities regarding keeping it secure, in good repair and paying some Council Tax.
What are my responsibilities whilst a home I own is empty?
It is recommended that if the home 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 home regularly to ensure the following:
- It is secure,
- Any gardens are maintained to a reasonable standard,
- The external appearance of the home is kept in good order, and
- The home is not in a condition so as to cause defects to neighbouring homes.
If you fail to keep the home secure, free from rubbish and in a reasonable condition, the Council has powers to require you to carry out works. If you fail to do these works we could prosecute you or do works on your behalf and then seek re-payment.
What help can you give me in bringing it back into use?
Whether you wish to sell the home or keep ownership of it, we can provide you with free advice and assistance on your full range of options to help you bring it back into use, including those laid out below:
- It may be possible for a Housing Association to purchase the home from you
- An Empty Homes Loan may be available for improvements to the home so that you can rent it out - for further information see sell or rent the home
- An agent could manage and rent out the home on your behalf, ensuring that it is well maintained and allowing you to still earn some income through the rent
Our Housing Options Team may also be able to help you in finding a tenant to rent your home out to.
What will happen if I do not bring it back into use?
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 actions to bring your home back into use without your consent.
If you need help bringing an empty home back into use, contact the Housing Standards Team for advice on 01785 619000