People living near to an empty property in a poor condition can be affected almost daily because empty homes can become targets for vermin, fly-tipping, burglary, arson attacks, drug use and general anti-social behaviour. Furthermore, a neglected empty home can lead to damage to adjoining properties and can devaluate neighbouring properties. In addition, there is a significant lack of housing supply to meet the high housing needs in the local area.
For owners of empty homes, there are financial considerations when a property is left empty, the payment of Council Tax, repairs, insurance, security as well as loss of income from potential rental.
Property owners should generally be free to decide how their property is used. However, this fundamental right needs to be balanced against the rights of others living in the community in which the property is located. In ensuring a reasonable balance is struck, there is a legitimate public interest in ensuring empty homes do not have an undue impact on the local community, and where they do there is a reasonable prospect that the matter will be resolved.
Malvern Hills District Council aims to bring long-term empty homes back into use to improve the standard of housing in the district.
- Free advice and information to owners on what options are available, such as signposting to Registered Social Landlords who may be interested in buying empty properties.
- Empty Homes Assistance of up to £15,000 if the property qualifies for essential works as deemed appropriate by the Council to enable the property to be habitable
- Free advertising of the property on our Choice Based Letting scheme to people on our housing register.
- Selling a long-term empty property will provide benefits for all concerned. The owner will benefit from a lump sum of cash as well as reduced expenses; it will provide a housing opportunity for a family in need and give the community peace of mind.
While we always try and assist in bringing properties back into use using informal action there may be circumstances for priority empty homes where formal enforcement action is required to bring it back into use.
This could include:
- Dangerous and Dilapidated Buildings and drainage – Building Act 1984
- Unsightly land and property – Town and Country Planning Act 1990
- Premises prejudicial to health or a nuisance – Environmental Protection Act 1990
- Property Improvements, Empty Dwelling Management Orders – Housing Act 2004
- Rodents - Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949
- Enforced Sales
- Compulsory Purchase Orders