Council marks National Empty Homes Week

Stockport Council is supporting a national campaign to bring empty properties back into use.

Empty Homes Week runs from 23 to 29 September and aims to raise awareness of long-term empty homes.

Councillor Sheila Bailey, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport, said: “The demand for property in the borough is high and increasing so we cannot afford for properties to stand empty when they could be providing much needed homes. Many properties that have been empty for a long period of time fall into a state of disrepair and are a blight on our communities.

"If you have a property that is currently empty and has not been lived in for some time, or know of a property that is not being lived in, please get in touch with us.”

If you own an empty property, it could be costing more than you think, with repairs, deteriorating conditions, burst pipes or leaks, vandalism, break ins and loss of rent all adding up to many thousands of pounds per year. You may also not be aware that many insurance policies are not applicable if the property is empty for prolonged periods.

Since April 2013, Council Tax exemptions and discounts for empty properties and second homes no longer apply in many areas. If the property has been empty over two years there is a Council Tax premium of 150%. In April 2020 this will rise to 200%.

If you decide to leave your house empty, you will still be responsible for payment of Council Tax, insurance and utility standing charges. You are also responsible for the security of the property, and must maintain both the property and the land around it to a minimum standard.

Tackling empty properties maximises the properties available in the Borough and improves communities. The supply of housing in Stockport is unable to match the projected demand, so it is important that any empty properties that could provide accommodation are brought back into the housing market.

Where empty properties have been identified, the Council will work informally with owners to bring those properties back into use. This may involve Council staff offering advice and assistance, which could lead to:

  • The sale of the property on the open market
  • Leasing and housing management schemes to owners who may want to rent out their property, as well as carrying out repairs at the same time
  • Refurbishment and re-occupation by the owner

Where owners are not able, willing or present to ensure the property is brought back into use, the Council have and will continue to use formal action, where appropriate, including compulsory purchase and enforced sale.

If you have an empty property in Stockport and want to speak to someone about your options, please contact 0161 474 4181 or emptyhomes@stockport.gov.uk.