The 'Empty Hopes' initiative was launched by Torfaen Council to identify empty properties within the Borough and offer support and advice to owners.
'Houses into Homes' has been developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with Torfaen Council. It provides empty property owners with the opportunity to bring their properties back into use with the help of an interest free loan.
What problems do empty properties cause?
Empty Properties can lead to social, economic and environmental concerns including:
- Creating eyesores which are a target for nuisance and anti-social behaviour
- Decreasing the value of neighbouring properties.
- Contributing to the housing shortage.
- Increasing pressure for housing development on Greenfield sites to meet housing demand.
- Burdening the local authority with lost revenue from council tax and the time and resources spent by Public Health, Building Control, Fire Authority and Police Services.
What is the Council's role?
Empty property owners are responsible for their properties, but if an owner is unsure what to do with their property, or the property is causing problems in the community, then the Council can help. Torfaen Council has an officer who can work with owners and other Council services to bring these properties back into use.
Many properties are legitimately empty e.g. for renovations or awaiting a sale, so the Council rarely needs to get involved in these circumstances. Instead the Council's focus is on assisting owners who are seeking help, by examining their best options, such as letting, living in or selling the property. The Council also deals with problematic properties and cases where the owner has no intention of returning the house to use.
What is Empty Hopes?
The Empty Hopes initiative was launched to reduce the number of empty properties within the borough. Torfaen Council encourages communication with empty property owners to establish their intentions and provide advice and support.
Advice and guidance can be provided on:
- Private Letting Leasing- (find out about Seren Living Leasing scheme here)
As a last resort, where empty property owners are not compliant and all negotiations have failed, Torfaen Council will take the appropriate enforcement action to ensure that the empty property is returned to a habitable condition and brought back into use. Enforcement actions may include Empty Dwelling Management Orders, Enforced Sale, Compulsory Purchase Orders or voluntary acquisition.
What is 'Houses into Homes'?
Torfaen Council in partnership with the Welsh Government are currently offering an Interest Free Loan of up to £25,000, to assist empty property owners bring their properties back into use. To qualify, a property must have been empty for at least 6 months (but it need not have been owned by the applicant for that period).
Money is paid up front to the owner and will need to be repaid within either 2 years (if the property is to be sold) or 3 years (if the property is to be rented). There are no monthly repayments, the full amount is repaid at the end of the specified period.
Interested in purchasing an empty home?
Empty homes often need renovation and can prove to be an investment opportunitiy for prospective buyers. If you are interested in purchasing an empty home, the Council can add your details to the 'buyer list' which is passed onto owners who are looking to sell.
How do I report an empty home?
If a private property is empty and causing problems please report it online here or contact Torfaen Council.