12/04/2023 - Permalink

Help for owners of empty homes to bring them back into use

Related topics: Housing / Public protection

Advice and support are on hand to owners of empty homes in Shropshire to encourage them to be brought back into use.

Homes and other buildings left empty represent a significant wasted resource, both to their owners and to those in housing need across the county.

Owning an empty home is an expensive responsibility, and can become a source of unnecessary anxiety and stress. There’s a greatly increased risk of vandalism and crime with empty properties, and they can be difficult to insure, which could result in high repair costs or even mean a complete loss of asset.

In Shropshire, there are currently over 1,330 homes that have stood empty for more than six months.

There are a number of reasons homes may become empty, ranging from the owner being in care, to the owner having a lack of skills or finances to manage the property, to legal issues such as probate creating delays.

The council’s empty homes team can help owners of empty homes by offering information, advice and support. In some cases this can include financial grants, and assistance for owners to bring their properties up to the current housing standard. The team are also contacted regularly by individuals looking to purchase empty homes in the county to renovate.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for growth, regeneration and housing,

“Empty homes are a wasted resource and often blight communities, especially in a council area such as Shropshire where there is such high demand for housing.

“Our empty homes team can work with owners to assist them in returning their property back to into use. Whilst there are tools available to the council to enforce the sale of empty homes, this is not where we want to focus our efforts.

“We want to encourage owners of empty homes to contact us so we can help them find the solutions that works best for them. This will ultimately ensure empty homes are brought back into use for the benefit of the owner and the wider community.”

The council will also investigate if an empty home is causing problems, such as whether it’s insecure, dangerous, attracts flytipping or anti-social behaviour, or if the empty state is causing it to be physically damaging to another property.

For further advice, contact the empty homes team on 0345 678 9067 or via emptyhomes@shropshire.gov.uk.

More information can be found on the council’s website. 

Further information

The council recently agreed a new Empty Homes Strategy to support the council’s wider Housing Strategy. This includes tackling the impact of long-term empty homes to minimise the detriment to local communities, in terms of risk, nuisance, and wasted housing resources.

The council has recently employed additional resources to increase our ability to proactively work with owners of empty homes: this includes homes that have been unoccupied for a substantial period.

Did you know?

For an average 2/3 bed terraced empty property in England it’s estimated that the total cost per year is in the region of at least £8,000 – £10,000. This includes rental loss, maintenance, insurance, and council tax, for which there’s currently a 100% premium applicable if a property has been empty for over two years.

The value of an empty property also depreciates rapidly. By renting out or selling an empty property, not only are the main issues resolved, but there’s the added advantage of gaining regular rental income or the capital from the sale of the property.