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What problems can empty homes cause?

The negative effect of an empty home on a street and surrounding community can be dramatic. Empty homes can lead to damp and pests and also attract anti-social behaviour such as vandalism, arson or squatting. This can reduce the value of neighbours' homes. 

It’s not difficult to spot the empty home in a street. It usually looks neglected with peeling paintwork, overgrown garden and no-one coming and going. An easy target for people with bad intentions.   

Why do people leave homes empty?

There are various reasons for leaving properties empty such as being up for sale, for rent or are being repaired. The previous owner may have died and the person who inherits it can take time to decide what to do with the property. 

You can read more about empty homes issues on the Empty homes agency website.

How can the council help empty home owners?

There are many ways owners can bring their empty home back into use. Such as:

  • an empty homes grant management scheme

  • matchmaking services

  • social lettings scheme

  • property guardianship  

One of our council priorities is to provide more affordable rented housing. This is very important for people on low wages who can’t afford a ‘market’ rent. 

What if an owner doesn't want to bring their empty home back into use?

Although we try to help owners, some will not work with us to make their empty property a home again. 

When this happens we can use enforcement. For example we have successfully used the Empty dwelling management order (EDMO), where the council can appoint an agent to manage the property for seven years.  These homes are let to people in most need of housing.