Properties become empty for a number of reasons including inheritance/probate issues, lack of finances and resources to renovate or manage an empty home or issues with repossession, selling and letting. Properties that have remained empty for a significant period of time or are in serious disrepair, are unsafe or insecure, causing a nuisance or are attracting anti-social behaviour, vandalism or crime may need intervention from the Council. It’s therefore important for the council to understand why properties become empty and/or remain empty so that we can work with the owners and apply the most appropriate course of action to bring an empty home back into use.
We understand that bringing an empty home back into use can be difficult, time consuming and may require funding. The Private Sector Housing Team can provide advice and assist you to bring your empty home back into use.
Schemes currently available:
Empty Homes Loans
The Council offer flexible loans to bring empty properties back into habitable use. The loan is available to owners of empty homes and anybody wishing to purchase an empty property. The loan is a five year, flexible, bridging finance secured by a charge against the property. After work has been completed, the property can be let (subject to your lenders approval), used as the owner’s residence or sold. During the term of the loan, the owner can choose to make regular monthly payments, occasional payments or no payment at all. The loan and all interest accrued must be repaid at the end of the five year term. The interest rate is variable 5% to 7% and applicants will be credit checked. For further information or to apply for an empty home loan contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01908 252664 or by email.
Enhanced Private Sector Leasing Scheme
This is a free and comprehensive leasing scheme for owners of empty homes that are suitable for letting. The scheme offers guaranteed rent each month, regular inspections, 10% higher payments than LHA rate, repairs completed, no administration fees and properties are returned in good condition taking account of fair wear and tear. For further information on the private sector leasing scheme contact the Accommodation Development Team on 01908 258070 or by email.
Purchasing of empty homes
The council may under certain circumstances consider buying a privately owned empty home, subject to location, valuation and costs of remedial works. For further information contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01908 252664 or by email.
Taking time to report an empty home in your community can make a real difference or if you own an empty property and would like to know more about the advice and assistance available please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01908 252664 or by email.
We encourage owners to work with us to reach a solution however in some circumstances it may be necessary to take enforcement action where the owner is not engaging in finding a solution to bring a long term empty property back into use. Some of the enforcement options which can be used are:
- Formal notices served on the owner to make a property safe, secure or free from serious hazards
- Empty dwelling management orders (EDMO’S)
- Compulsory purchase orders (CPO’s)
- Enforced sale
Last Updated: 7 March 2019