Information on Empty Properties
Empty properties can be a problem for a number of reasons: -
They can become a magnet for anti social behaviour, not realising how dangerous they can be. If a property is not kept secure against access and a person is injured in or on the property, the owner can be liable.
- They attract vandalism, windows get broken, pipe work gets exposed and damaged, rubbish is dumped, and this can in turn attract vermin that can thrive in such conditions.
- They become a depreciating asset. When a property starts to fall into disrepair, it soon loses value, and quickly becomes costly to repair.
- They have a negative impact on the their immediate surroundings leading to a loss of confidence in the area and this in turn can lead to a lessening of value in the surrounding properties.
Empty properties are a wasted resource, when there is much needed housing required in many areas of the district. Bringing empty properties back into use reduces the need for as many new builds to be constructed on greenfield sites and can potentially reduce the number of people waiting on the Housing Register.
East Northamptonshire has adopted a graded response to the issue of empty homes:
1) Identify empty homes. We have a number of ways of doing this, relying both on internal and external leads such as Council tax data. Once we have identified a long term empty home we will then seek to identify the owner and work with them.
2) Enable empty home owners. Once we have identified the owner we look to work with them to help them bring the property back into use. We have a number of options such as advice, assistance and leasing schemes.
3) Enforcement. As a very last resort the Council has a range of enforcement options it can take to bring properties back into use. This includes enforced sale, where the Council has already taken action to improve the property but the owner remains uncooperative. The council can also undertake a compulsory purchase order, if the owner has refused all offers of help and the property has remained empty.
To assist with this, the Council has recently received funding from central Government to appoint a specialist officer for a period of time. This officer will co-ordinate the Council's Empty Homes Strategy and seeks to bring as many of East Northamptonshire's empty properties back into use as possible.
If you would like to report an empty property in your area or to contact the Empty Homes Officer please click here or phone 01832 742283.