Monday 1 December marks the start of Empty Homes Week, and Calderdale Council is supporting the Empty Homes Agency’s campaign to reduce the number of long-term empty homes.
Empty homes can cause a number of problems, especially if they are allowed to go into decline. As well as being a wasted resource, they can attract vandalism, crime and spoil the look of an area. They can also reduce the value of neighbouring properties by up to 20%.
Calderdale Council has pledged its support to the Empty Homes Agency’s campaign.
Calderdale’s strategic approach includes :
• Preventing homes from becoming empty in the first place, by providing support and assistance to property owners,
• Removing the empty property council tax discount and introducing an empty property premium rate for houses that have been empty for 2 years of more (refunded if the property is bought and brought into use within a year).
• Working with other organisations, including the Fire Service and West Yorkshire Police sharing resources and powers to deal with empty properties and the problems associated with them.
• Looking for areas that may be in need of regeneration, which could be indicated by a high number of empty properties.
• Making owners aware of the range of options available to them to bring their property back into use.
The number of empty homes in Calderdale is decreasing, and has continued to fall year on year. Over the last four years around 800 empty homes have been brought back into use, and Calderdale has benefitted from grants of over £2million as part of the government’s New Homes Bonus scheme, for local councils who increase the number of homes and their use.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Asset and Facilities Management, Housing and Environment, Cllr Scott Benton, said:
“Empty houses can be a real problem for both owners and neighbours, and we’re doing all we can to tackle the problem and turn empty houses into cherished homes.
“We’re continuing to focus on the reasons houses might be empty, and our recently approved Empty Homes Strategy not only sets out the problems caused by empty homes, but also identifies ways they can be brought back into use.”
For more information about how we’re tackling empty homes and to read the full strategy visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/housing/emptyhomes