Owning an empty home
When a property stands empty for a long time, its condition can deteriorate quickly and it can become a target for vandalism and graffiti. As the owner, you will face rising costs year on year to keep the property maintained and secure. You also face the problem that the property is not generating any income for you.
How can the Council help you to return the property back into use?
Chiltern District Council aims to help owners of empty properties bring them back into use. The support includes:
- advice and assistance on how to rent out the property
- support in finding a tenant via the Council's Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme [RDGS]
- access to a Flexible Home Improvement Loan for work to make the property habitable
- guidance on how to go about selling the property.
What happens if you leave the property standing empty?
Housing in the Chiltern District is scarce. If a property is standing empty, the Council will contact the owner to offer help and support to return the property back into use. If we cannot contact the owner or the owner is unwilling to work with us, we may consider taking action to return the property back in to use.
The action that the Council takes will depend on factors such as:
- the reason why the property is empty,
- the state of repair of the property,
- any nuisance that the property is causing locally (or is likely to cause) such as vandalism etc
- the need for housing locally.
The Council has a range of legal powers for taking action against empty properties. These include powers to:
- undertake emergency repairs (and re-charge the owner)
- take over the management of the property through an EDMO (Empty Dwelling Management Order)
- compulsorily purchasing the property.
In every case the Council will only take this type of enforcement when no other options are available to it. The Council's preferred option will always be to work with the owner of the empty property to return it to use.