Empty homes and area improvements
The Private Sector Development Team manages a range of initiatives and projects to improve and regenerate privately owned housing in Calderdale. This work includes:
- Area based improvement schemes
- Bringing empty properties back in to use
- Working with private landlords
- Providing relocation assistance.
Privately owned empty properties are a wasted resource and where possible and practical Calderdale Council will assist with bringing them back into use.
Calderdale Council's revised Empty Homes strategy 2010 - 2015 reflects changes made to legislation to help Local Authorities bring back empty homes back into use.
Empty properties can soon start to cause problems, especially if they are allowed to go into decline. With rotten windows and doors, overgrown gardens, and signs of abandonment, they can attract anti-social behaviour, vandalism, litter, crime, vermin, drug dealing and squatters. They become 'eye sores' and blight the lives of individuals and communities and reduce the value of neighbouring properties.
What can the Council do?
The Council is currently developing ways to encourage owners to bring their homes back into use. Solutions being developed are based upon enablement, inducement and enforcement.
- Offer help and advice with technical issues
- Assistance to become a landlord
- Help new and existing landlords find suitable tenants
- Introduction to organisations to manage tenancies
- Investigate ownership disputes.
- Help with financial assistance depending on circumstances / finding finance
- Assist with procurement of work / repairs.
- Serving repair and improvement notices under Environmental Health, Planning & Building legislation
- Empty Dwelling Management Orders
- Enforced Sale
- Compulsory Purchase Orders.
What can the owner of the empty property do?
Each empty property will require its own solution. Owners are encouraged to work with the Council to develop the most appropriate solution. Some simple suggestions include:
- Live in the property themselves
- Sell the property
- Let the property, either privately or through a letting agent.
The Council would prefer to bring a property back in to use through a negotiated process and provision of support and incentives. However, if the owner is not interested in the offers of assistance that might be available and they continue to leave their property empty, the Council will give consideration to the use of enforcement action from the different powers listed.
Contact us about an empty home
Do you know an empty property? Is it causing a nuisance? Is it an eyesore?
If so, we would like to know about it. The council has developed ways to encourage owners to bring their homes back into use. Our dedicated officers will contact the owner, identify the problems and design solutions.
If you would like to tell us about an empty home, contact the Private Sector Housing Team at Halifax Customer First.
Changes to Council Tax Discounts
With effect from 1 April 2014 the following changes to Council Tax Discounts and Empty Property Premium will apply:
- A temporary 30 day exemption from Council tax for all property owners if their property becomes empty;
- Properties empty more than 2 years will have a Council tax charge of 100% plus an additional empty homes premium of 50%;
- Buyers of long term empty homes will be able to apply for a repayment of the empty homes premium they have paid between the purchase date and the date it becomes occupied , if this happens within a year and
- A temporary exemption for 6 months from Council tax for victims of flood and fire will apply if the property is classed as being uninhabitable and reasonable efforts are made promptly to bring it back into use.
If you own a property which has been empty more than 2 years and you want help to bring it back into use don't hesitate to contact the Empty Property team on 01422 288001 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the 30 day Council Tax exemption or the new Empty Property Premium telephone 01422 288003.
The Private Sector Development team is seeking to work more closely with private landlords and letting agents within the borough to ensure there is a consistent, good standard of accommodation available in the private rented sector.
The Council can provide a range of support which can help both landlords and tenants. This support includes advice on:
- Housing advice
- Housing benefits
- Tenancy agreements
- Small repairs and adaptations for vulnerable clients
- Energy efficiency grants
- Property condition and disrepair
- Community safety and anti-social behaviour
- Mediation to solve disputes
- Fire safety
- Legal evictions
- Bringing empty properties back in to use.
If you would like advice on any of the listed housing issues, contact the Council on 01422 288001.
Property Accreditation Scheme
After consultation with landlords the Property Accreditation Scheme was re-launched as the Fair and Safe Tenancies (FAST) Property Registration Scheme. This scheme aims to enable the Council to work better with local landlords as the private rented sector plays an important role in providing housing for many people and families in the borough. The FAST Property Registration scheme offers various incentives for landlords to recognise and reward good practice. For more information visit Private rented property registration scheme .
Every five years the Council carries out an assessment of the borough's privately owned housing stock. A random sample of 3,000 homes is generated with a view to carrying out condition surveys on a representative sample of 1,500 properties. These surveys do not give any indication of market values of the property, but are designed to give a snap shot of the general state of repair of housing across the borough.
This information is then collated to inform where and what works might be needed in the future to prevent market decline or possible failure where housing conditions may be very poor. As well as stock condition, other factors are also taken into consideration to determine where investment might be needed to bring improvements to an area.
Schemes currently being carried out include:
- Akeds Road
- Dudleys Estate, Illingworth
- Harley Bank, Todmorden
- Heatherstones Court
- Upper Parkinson Lane.
For more information:
- 01422 288001
- In person
- At any Customer First office. See Local Offices.
Heatherstones was a Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT) owned site that had slowly become empty since 2006 and had started to attract acts of vandalism. It sits within a primary housing area and consisted of a cluster of 13 terraced houses and 8 apartments. Connect Housing (a local Registered Provider) purchased the site in September 2013 and refurbished the houses into affordable homes to let which were successfully let in April and the apartments are being remodelled to provide a rehabilitating environment, based around the needs of the anticipated customer.
The Heatherstones Court project will deliver an expansion in choice for the intermediate care service. It will bring forward apartment style ‘step forward’ accommodation which, at full capacity, will support up to 15 adults who are being discharged from hospital but are unable to immediately return home or when someone needs a bit more help and support for a short period of time that is better provided in the scheme than at home. Ultimately those people who stay will also aspire to living back in their community.
The space can support a partner or carer staying with the person in need, as 2 bed apartments are available and are also wheelchair accessible. The team will be made up of people who are able to provide the right level of support for the person and this includes personal care, support, housing advice and therapy staff to help rebuild strength and confidence. The latest technology will be provided on site such telecare and telemedicine which will provide 24/7 support for anyone staying. This technology is available in someone’s own home which helps create the ‘home from home’ environment. All of this will contribute towards reducing the number of long term care placements and helping people to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible in their own home and community.
This has been possible due to the partnership ethos between Calderdale Council, Connect Housing, Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, Calderdale and Huddersfield Trust as well as tapping into the governments Clusters funding that supports the activity to bring empty properties back into use. The scheme is expected to ‘go live’ during October 2014. For further information please contact Stephanie Furness on email@example.com