National Empty Homes Week

Written on . Posted in Community, Housing, Media, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Did you know approximately 480 properties in the Epping Forest district have been standing empty for more than 6 months. In an area where there’s a huge demand for housing but development on Green Belt is prohibited, it’s very important that as many empty properties as possible are brought back to use.

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Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons but they can be the source of much misery to neighbours who live nearby. It’s estimated that the home next door to an empty property can be devalued by 10%. There is also the worry of nuisance, vermin, arson, vandalism and anti social behaviour. For the owner, an empty property is a wasted resource and can be costly in terms of increased insurance, increased council tax, emergency repairs and break-ins.

Reducing the number of empty properties

Epping Forest District Council is committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the district and can offer financial help in certain circumstances. It is recognised that a stumbling block can be that the empty property is in disrepair and cannot be lived in, let or easily sold in its condition.

We offer the following schemes

  • Empty Homes Repayable Assistance

    The Empty Homes Repayable Assistance offers up to £10,000 if there is an empty property that you intend to live in yourself, but is in poor condition. The money is repaid when you eventually sell the property.

  • PLACE Loan

    The PLACE Loan offers up to £25,000 if you have a property that you would like to have renovated in order that you can sell or rent it out. This is an interest free loan and is paid back within 2 years in the case of a loan to sell, or 5 years in the case of the loan to let.

Whilst the council will always prefer to work with owners in a constructive way, it has certain enforcement powers that it may use to ensure that an empty property is brought back to use particularly if it has been empty a long time and is problematic to the local community.

Committed to bringing empty properties back into use

Housing portfolio holder David Stallan said: “As a council we are fully committed to bringing empty properties back into use and are looking to help owners in every way we can. However where all other measures have failed, we are prepared to take enforcement action as a last resort.”

Report an Empty Property

If you are aware of an empty property provide us with the address and any other information you may have and we will do our best to contact the owner, to work with him, to bring his property back to use. All calls are treated in confidence. For further information and advice or to report an empty property, please contact the Empty Property Officer on telephone: 01992 564706 or email: privatesectorhousing@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.