National Empty Homes Week

Empty Homes Week runs from 28 February to 6 March this year 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 for:

  • repairs
  • deteriorating conditions
  • burst pipes or leaks
  • vandalism
  • break ins
  • loss of rent

It could all add 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 long periods.

If your property has been empty and substantially unfurnished for two years or more, you'll need to pay an empty home premium on top of the full Council Tax charge for your property. The premium will be applied two years after the date from which the property first became empty, not the date of ownership:

1 April 2019 - 100% of the full Council Tax charge for your property
1 April 2020 - 200% if your property has been empty for more than 5 years
1 April 2021 - 300% for properties empty for over 10 years

If you decide to leave your house empty, you will still be responsible for payment of Council Tax, insurance and utility standing charges. You're 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's important that any empty properties that could provide accommodation are brought back into the housing market.

Where empty properties have been identified, we'll work informally with you to bring those properties back into use. This may involve our staff offering advice and assistance. This could lead to:

  • the sale of your property on the open market
  • leasing and housing management schemes if you want to rent out your property and carry out repairs at the same time
  • refurbishment and re-occupation by the owner

If the empty property is not brought back into use, we have and will continue to use formal action, where appropriate. This can include compulsory purchase or enforced sale.

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