Empty Dwellings

 

Empty dwellings are a wasted resource at a time of housing shortage. They can also blight the streetscape and provide harbourage for vermin.

Dwellings can become, and remain, empty for many reasons and a certain number of empty dwellings are needed for the normal operation of the housing market. However Breckland Council is keen to reduce the number of long term empty properties - that is those that have been empty for 6 months or more.

We can offer advice on bringing an empty property back into use and what funding options might be available to help.

We have the Restore grant which can offer up to £5000 to bring a property up to a lettable standard. It can cover a wide range of works but the property must reach the Decent Homes standard on completion. We ask that the property be let for at least 12 months at an affordable rent, preferably to someone from our housing waiting list.

We can also facilitate a private sector leasing arrangement whereby a third party takes over management, but not ownership, of an empty property for a fixed period,  refurbishes it, lets it out and recovers the cost from the rents.

We can also offer the Domicile loan to landlords to bring a property up to standard. This can offer up to £20,000 but is repayable.

The Council also has enforcement powers that can be used in cases where there is no co-operation or no owner can be found.

Compulsory purchase of an empty property might be considered if it is having a seriously detrimental effect on the neighbourhood or is a listed building falling into disrepair.

Empty Dwelling Management Orders, ( EDMOs), allow the Council to take over management, but not ownership, of a dwelling that has been empty for more than 2 years and there is no reasonable prospect of the property coming back into use otherwise. The Council would refurbish the property, let it and recover it's costs from the rents paid. Management would be returned to the owner once the Council is satisfied that the property would continue to be let successfully.