Empty home owners across Rushcliffe are being urged to bring their property back into use with a range of assistance from Rushcliffe Borough Council.
As the national Empty Homes Week launches today (Monday) the authority is again appealing to property owners to use the advice and help on offer in line with it’s five-year Empty Homes Strategy, agreed earlier this year.
Unoccupied homes can be detrimental to the lives of those in local communities and can cause problems such as vandalism, anti-social behaviour and nuisance and reduce the value of surrounding properties.
However the Council currently offers a range of advice and support tools to assist owners over their empty home hurdle including:
- Free property appraisal, including current value, rental value if habitable and cost of refurbishment works
- Links to estate agents and property investors, in order to find the most appropriate sale route for the owner
- Links with letting agents to advise on letting the property to family units, students, or as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO)
- Advice on upgrades to the property, to ensure all current regulatory standards are adhered to
- Advice on VAT and tax implications of being a landlord
- Guidance on the reduced rate of VAT on refurbishments of properties empty over two years
- Other options currently being assessed include loans to landlords and management facilities
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing Cllr Roger Upton said: “Whether the property is struggling to sell, is in need of repairs to make it habitable, or is in the process of going through probate, there are often difficult and substantial reasons why homes remain empty but we’re here to help.
“Whilst under one per cent of homes in Rushcliffe are empty and we are very much below the national average, we still have in the region of 500 empty homes across the Borough and are endeavouring to reduce them wherever possible.
“Where an owner has plans for the property, and is actively implementing them,
we still make contact to see if we can further assist the plans to ensure they stay on track.”
If an owner fails to respond to repeated attempts to contact them, and there are no signs that the property will be occupied in the near future, the Council can consider a range of enforcement options. These include compulsory purchase order, an empty dwelling management order, enforced sale order or improvement notices.