National Empty Homes week runs from Monday 28 February to Sunday 6 March this year. This is an opportunity for local authorities across the country to raise the profile of empty homes and highlight the work being done to reduce the number of long-term empty homes.
Horsham District Council takes a pro-active approach to reducing the number of long-term empty homes within the District.
Within the Horsham District there are some 350 homes that have been empty for six months or longer. The Council is keen to bring as many properties as possible back into use to ease local housing shortages.
Homes left empty long term can be a blight on the neighbourhood and attract anti-social behaviour. There can be emotional and complex reasons surrounding why homes are left empty, but there are many incentives to turn an empty house into a future home.
Making the house a home again will reduce the costs of owning an empty property, such as deterioration in value and regular bills including Council Tax. Leaving properties unoccupied can attract the attention of vandals, squatters, and complaints from neighbours, as well as causing the decline in its condition. The biggest incentive for bringing the home back into use is to gain regular rental income from letting, or a lump sum from selling your property.
The Council’s Environmental Health team can offer advice to owners of empty homes and information on the options available to help bring homes back into use. This includes grant assistance if improvement work is needed for the empty home and it will then be let, or the services of our Lettings Officer who works with families hoping for homes to rent in this area. We also have a partnership with the Sussex YMCA to offer a leasing scheme to owners of empty homes, as an alternative to improving or letting the property themselves.
Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Protection Cllr Tricia Youtan commented:
With a shortage of housing in our District, giving pre-loved empty homes a new lease of life as a family home, with the added attraction of either a regular rental income or a healthy lump sum, makes not only good economic sense but is also great news for our community as a whole.
Cllr Tricia Youtan, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Protection