The 'Empty Hopes' initiative has been launched by Torfaen County Borough Council to identify empty properties within the Borough and to offer a support and advice service to owners.
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 a housing shortage in the neighbourhood.
- 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 with empty homes?
Owners are responsible for their properties. However, if an owner is unsure what to do with their empty property, or if a property is causing problems in the community, the Council can help. Torfaen County Borough Council's Empty Homes Officers work with owners and other Council services to bring these properties back into use.
Many are legitimately empty and the Council appreciates that renovations and sales take time. The Council rarely needs to get involved in these circumstances. The Council's focus is on guiding owners who are seeking help by examining their options to find the best solution, such as letting, living in or selling the house. The Council also deal with problematic properties and cases where the owner has no intention of returning the house to use.
The following document sets out Torfaen Council's strategy for dealing with empty properties: Torfaen Council Empty Property Strategy.
What is Empty Hopes?
The Empty Hopes initiative has been launched with the aim of reducing the amount of empty properties within the borough. Torfaen Council encourages communication with empty property owners to establish the intentions for each property and provide advice and support to owners.
Advice and guidance for owners on bringing an empty property back into use can be provided by the Empty Property Officer who can provide information on:
- Private Letting Leasing- (find out about Charter Options 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.
The Great British Property Scandal
The Empty Homes Agency and Channel 4 have launched a campaign to target Britain's empty homes. The channel 4 tv series investigates Britain's housing crisis and sets out to discover why hundreds of thousands of properties are lying empty.
The campaign proposes two simple but effective changes that will give individuals and communities the power to take on Britain's empties and the resources to get them back into use:
1) A law change to give communities and individuals the power to turn abandoned properties in their local area into homes for people who need them.
2) Access to low-cost loan funds for people who need financial help to get empty properties back into use.
Interested in purchasing an empty home?
Empty homes are often in need of renovation work 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.
To find out more contact the Empty Hopes team:
Tel: 01495 742629
Or use our Contact form.
How do I report an empty home?
If a private property is empty and causing problems please report it online here or contact your local empty property officers at Torfaen Council:
Senior Environmental Health Officer