What is an Empty Home?
An empty home is a residential dwelling that has been empty for six months or more. There can be several reasons why a property is empty and Bridgend Council is committed to working with owners to find solutions to bring empty homes back into use.
Why bring an empty home back into use?
By bringing an empty home back into use it can:
- Increase the supply of good quality affordable housing;
- Contribute to strong balanced housing markets and community sustainability;
- Give owners’ choice by improving sales potential or providing rental income rather than allowing properties to become wasted assets;
- Reduce the risk of vandalism, arson or squatting and the fear of crime;
- Enhance the viability and vitality of town centres by bringing empty flats above shops back into use.
How can an empty home be brought back into use?
An empty home can be brought back into use by:
Applying for an Empty Homes Grant
The Empty Homes Grant forms part of the Authority’s overall approach to tackling empty properties in the Borough and will assist in increasing the supply of affordable rented accommodation. The Authority will determine the works necessary to bring a property back into use, in consultation with the Public Protection Department.
The maximum grant amount is £10,000 or 75% of the eligible costs, whichever is the lesser amount. It will include all costs for eligible works, specialist reports and preliminary and ancillary charges. Works must not have commenced before the application is approved, and must be completed within 6 months of the approval.
Applying for a “Houses into Homes” recyclable loan
The Welsh Government launched a new scheme, “Houses into Homes”, in February 2012. There is a £10m fund for councils in Wales to offer loans to owners of empty homes to bring them back into use, either by renting or selling the property. Work to convert empty buildings into residential accommodation will also be eligible under the scheme.
Loans will be available on an interest-free basis for up to three years, depending on the scheme, up to a maximum of around £25,000 per property (or £150,000 for multiple units in one building). There will be some administration and legal costs to an owner in setting up a loan and the valuation of the property and any existing borrowing against it will also be taken into consideration. Further details can be found on the Welsh Government website.
If you own an empty property and are interested in the “Houses into Homes” scheme please contact the Housing Strategy Team by telephoning 01656 643545, or emailing email@example.com. Alternatively, you can write to the Housing Strategy Team at Housing & Community Regeneration, Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB.
Renting your property
There are a number of lettings agents in the County Borough that can assist you in letting and managing a private rented tenancy or you could manage the tenancy yourself and become an accredited landlord. Further information regarding landlord accreditation can be found on the Landlord Accreditation Wales website.
Selling or auctioning your property
There are a number of estate agents that operate in Bridgend County Borough. Further details can be found on the Property News website. Some estate agents also auction properties.
Where an empty home is particularly problematic and owners are not compliant and all negotiations have failed, the Local Authority will consider taking appropriate enforcement action to ensure that the empty home is returned to a habitable condition and bought back into use. Enforcement actions may include empty dwelling management orders, enforced sale, compulsory purchase orders or voluntary acquisition.
Who can I contact if I have any queries?
If you have any queries regarding your empty home or would like an Empty Homes Information Pack, please contact the Housing Strategy Team by telephoning 01656 643545, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can write to the Housing Strategy Team at Housing & Community Regeneration, Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB.