Empty Properties

The City Council is committed to making sure that the dwelling stock within the district is used and maintained to best advantage. If anybody has reason to believe a dwelling is derelict they should inform the Private Sector Housing team by clicking on the blue Report tab at the top of this page or calling 01962 84 84 00

The action taken by the council will depend on the extent of the problem with each dwelling and the assessment made as to the best course of action to take. The priority is to deal with tenanted dwellings where the landlord or person/s in control has failed to maintain the property to a satisfactory standard of fitness. The statutory standard of fitness is prescribed in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and details the standards a dwelling house must meet to be considered fit for human habitation.

Every effort is made to inform, advise and guide property owners on an informal, good will basis to bring substandard properties back to a satisfactory condition. In certain cases, home improvement grant aid may be offered to assist towards the costs or appropriate information may be provided regarding local building contractors and possible alternative means of financing repair works. This approach has proven to be successful in the majority of such cases. It is only where, despite continued efforts, this fails to achieve or expedite a successful outcome that formal measures are considered.

Failure to meet the standard of fitness requires that the local authority shall take the most satisfactory course of action and may include any of the following:

  • Service of a Repairs Notice detailing the works required to either bring the property to a satisfactory standard of fitness, or to remedy substantial disrepair - or remedy any disrepair that interferes materially with the personal comfort or well being of the occupying tenant.
  • Service of Closing Order prohibiting the use of the premises for any purpose not approved by the local authority, which would therefore prevent unfit premises being used for human habitation.
  • Service of Demolition Order requiring unfit premises to be vacated and then demolished within a specified period; this Order would only be considered for detached properties beyond economic repair or reinstatement costs.
  • New enforcement powers to support the new hazard rating system will be introduced in April 2006

“Please note that Council Tax is payable on empty properties. However, if your property is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished you may receive a one month discount from Council Tax. To enquire or request a discount please contact counciltax@winchester.gov.uk.”