Action on empties - National Empty Homes Week 2021

9:47am - 23 February 2021

This week is National Empty Homes week. North Somerset Council would like to work with owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use and to highlight the problems that may occur when homes are left empty.     

Empty homes are a wasted resource. Turning empty properties into valuable homes is beneficial to both owners, tenants and the local community.

Homes left empty in the longer term will deteriorate in condition, possibly be targeted for vandalism and anti-social behaviour and decrease in value, whereas a property brought back into use through sale or rental can generate valuable income. 

At the beginning of February (2021) there were over 550 properties in North Somerset which had been empty for more than six months. Some of these are due to delays in sales as a result of the pandemic but many will be empty in the long term.

Cllr Mike Bell, deputy leader of North Somerset Council whose portfolio includes housing, said: “It’s a real shame that when we need more quality homes across North Somerset  we have such a wasted resource. I would encourage any owners to get in touch to see how we can help to bring their properties back into use."   The council can help through:

•    an empty property loan to carry out essential works to get the property ready to rent or sell

•    our dedicated Lettings Team offer a range of services including finding and matching suitable tenants, free property checks, as well as providing ongoing advice and support for tenants and landlords 

•    advice on issues such as obtaining VAT reductions on refurbishment works or on energy efficiency measures.

Last year to discourage owners leaving empty in the longer term, the council adopted the Council Tax premium where an additional charge is applied: 

•    From 1 April 2020 100 per cent extra Council Tax has been charged on a property empty for more than two years and 200 per cent extra on a property empty more than five years 

•    From 1 April 2021 300 per extra Council Tax will be charged on a property empty more than 10 years. 

Cllr Bell added: "We want to work with owners where we can. However, if the condition of an empty property impacts on neighbouring properties or locality, we can take enforcement action.

These powers range from securing the property to prevent unauthorised access, to, in extreme cases, pursuing compulsory purchase."

Further information can be found at www.no-use-emptywest.co.uk, or contact the council at emptyproperties@n-somerset.gov.uk or contact the council's dedicated lettings team on Lettingsteam@n-somerset.gov.uk