An empty property is a valuable wasted housing asset. By bringing properties back into use owners can possibly generate an income, the property will cease to deteriorate and neighbouring residents will not have to put up with the problems that long term empty properties often cause such as fly tipping, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
The Council’s Empty Property Strategy was adopted in March 2016 with the aim of providing advice and sign posting assistance to owners to help them bring their empty property back into use.
The Council understands that there are often quite complex reasons why properties are left empty, however, there are options for the owners in order to bring their property back into use and thus avoid having to pay full Council Tax which is now charged for long term empty homes .
The Council can help to bring empty homes back into use by offering:
- Free advice and support with renting out property through City Lets;
- A free tenancy Bond guarantee scheme;
- Free Identification of suitable tenants for properties in the scheme
- Providing a letter for HM Revenue & Customs VAT Notice 708: buildings and construction to claim the prevailing 5% rate applicable to refurbishment of residential premises that have been empty for 2 or more years immediately before the start of works
We initially try and work with the owner of the empty property to provide advise and support, helping them to bring their property back into use, whether for sale, to rent or to move into themselves. If it is apparent however that the owner has no intention of bringing their property back into use, as a last resort we have a number of legal powers which can be enforced to ultimately bring a property back into use.
If you are the owner of an empty dwelling in the District and would like advice on how you can bring it back into use, in the first instance please contact the Private Sector Housing team on 01962 848 526.
Should you be aware of an empty property that you feel needs action please complete the online form: Empty Properties