Empty homes

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; and
  • providing relocation assistance.

Bringing empty properties back into use

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 Empty Homes strategy 2014 - 2020 reflects changes made to legislation to help Local Authorities bring empty homes back into use.

PDFEmpty Homes Strategy 2014 - 2020 [PDF 555KB]

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 eyesores, blight the lives of individuals and communities and reduce the value of neighbouring properties.

On 1st April 2014, the Council introduced an Empty Homes Premium of 50%. This was done through powers given by the 2012 Local Government Finance Act. It applies where a property has been empty for two years or more. For more details, see: A guide to your Council Tax .

What can the Council do?

The Council has developed ways to encourage owners to bring their homes back into use. Solutions being developed are based upon enablement, inducement and enforcement.

Enablement

  • 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.

Inducement

  • Help with financial assistance depending on circumstances / finding finance
  • Assist with procurement of work / repairs.

Enforcement

  • Serving repair and improvement notices under Environmental Health, Planning and 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 are that the owner:

  • lives in the property themselves;
  • sells the property; or
  • lets 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 1st April 2014 the following changes to Council Tax discounts and empty property premium came in:

  • 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 100% council tax charge plus an additional empty homes premium of 50%. The 2 years is from when the property first became empty, regardless of ownership.
  • buyers of long term empty homes will be able to apply for a repayment of the empty homes premium. This is what they have paid between the purchase date and the date it becomes occupied, if this happens within a year.
  • a temporary exemption for 6 months from Council Tax for victims of flood and fire. This will apply if the property is classed as being uninhabitable and reasonable efforts are made to promptly 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: under1roof@calderdale.gov.uk.

For more information about 30 day council tax exemption or empty property premium , phone: 01422 288003.

Working with Private Landlords and Tenants

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
  • Bonds
  • 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, phone the Council on: 01422 288001.