To coincide with Empty Homes Week (23 - 29 September).
East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) has reiterated its pledge to help cut down the number of empty homes across the district and offer advice to anyone concerned about an empty property in their area and the potential impact on an area.
Empty homes can cause problems for a neighbourhood including anti-social behaviour, vandalism and impact on the surrounding area. But ENC has reiterated that bringing an empty home back into use can improve the quality of a neighbourhood, as well as potential financial income to owners and returning much needed housing back into supply across East Northamptonshire.
Since transferring all of its housing stock in 2001 to East Northamptonshire Housing (now the Longhurst Group), ENC has worked on ensuring that residents are aware of signs that a property may be empty via information on the ENC website and offering advice to anyone who owns an empty property and is unsure what to do, to help return empty homes back into use.
However in extreme cases where a small minority of owners are not willing to work with the council, ENC are able to use a number of formal powers including serving legal notices, applying for Empty Dwelling Management Orders or Compulsory Purchase Orders.
Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council said:
“As a council, we understand that we have a responsibility to the district in terms of empty properties and know they can cause a range of problems in neighbourhoods.
“Empty homes are still subject to council tax and, by law if a property is unoccupied for over two years, owners must pay an extra 50% on top of their standard Council Tax bill. As such, we urge owners of empty homes to come forward so that we can help identify suitable uses for your property as well as offer advice on the local housing market and selling empty properties.
“ENC will shortly be recruiting for a new role that will take a lead on empty homes in East Northamptonshire to provide further help in cutting the number of empty homes across the district.”
Key signs that a property may have been empty for some time include:
- Boarded up or metal screens over the doors and windows
- No one is seen entering or leaving the property
- The front and back gardens are very overgrown and there is rubbish dumped
- There are pests and vermin
- There is evidence of squatting or illegal activities
- The property looks derelict, with broken windows and doors, holes in the roof or a large amount of uncollected post has built up
If you’re concerned about a possible empty property in your area, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01832 742055. Full details of ENC’s Empty Homes Strategy and advice can be found at www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/emptyhomes