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Dealing with empty properties
Leaving a property empty may lead to it becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour and vandalism. The garden could become overgrown or the fabric of the building may fall into disrepair.
In such cases, the council can serve notice on the owner to:
- Clear the garden.
- Carry out urgent repairs.
- Secure the property.
In some instances, the council will do the essential improvement works if necessary. The owner would be responsible for repaying the charge.
The legal notice and any outstanding debt, which would build interest on a daily basis, would be noted on the Local Land Charges Register, until the work was carried out and the debt cleared. This would affect the re-sale potential of the property.
If an empty home can't be brought back into use by encouragement and negotiation, the council can enforce the below in the appropriate circumstances:
- Serve legal notices to clear up an overgrown garden, board up broken windows and doors, and to carry out major repairs works to the property.
- Enforce the sale of the property, using the Law of Property Act 1925 to recover unpaid debts to the council
- Buy the property through a compulsory purchase.
- Apply for an Empty Dwelling Management Order. This would allow the council to take over management of the property and let it out to someone in housing need.
We look at individual circumstances when an owner is unable to return a property into us, such as issues around probate following the death of the owner.
Bringing empty properties back into use
To help property owners bring an empty property back to use, the council may be able to:
- Offer advice on how to let a property and the steps that need to be taken to become a landlord.
- Advise how to sell the property and may be aware of parties that would be interested in purchasing it, such as a social housing landlord.
- Offer a vacant homes low cost loan of up to £10,000 towards the cost of bringing an empty property back into use in the private rented sector. This would be subject to terms and conditions and the availability of funding.
If you've seen an empty house that you are interested in buying, you can find the name and address of the owner from the Land Registry.
If the Land Registry does not have the information, we may be able to pass on a letter from you to the owner. Please be aware that this will be reliant on us holding this information.
For more information, contact the private sector housing team by calling 01925 246868 or email email@example.com
Bond guarantee scheme
The council's housing options team offers a bond guarantee scheme to local people who need housing and want to rent privately. The council guarantees the bond and provides tenancy monitoring and support services for those tenants who need a bit of extra help with managing a tenancy.
Report an empty home
If you need to report an empty home, please complete the empty home form.
To use this form you will need to tell us:
• Your name, address and contact details
• The address of the vacant property
• Owner details, if known
• The condition of the property
Please note that the information you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence. We will only ever use this information to deliver the service that you have requested.
The data we collect from our online forms is stored for no more than six weeks. However teams within the council may store your data for longer in order to continue to provide you with the service you have requested.