Published October 16, 2018 at 10:23
Rossendale Council officer, Heather Mullins, is tasked with bringing empty properties back into use in the borough.
Her work is part of the Council’s vision to ensure that the people of Rossendale have access to decent affordable housing that enables a good quality of life.
And as the national Empty Homes Week 2018 continues, Heather is urging more landlords and property owners to use the Council’s services to help bring empty properties back into use.
Whenever possible we will try to improve standards. We do this by providing information, guidance and general support to landlords and owner-occupiers and publicise the advice available from the Council to bring empty homes back into use.
However, some properties that are left empty for long periods can be poorly maintained and have a negative effect on neighbourhoods. Over the past year, we have taken a tougher approach to enforcement as it is our belief that owners of empty properties need to take responsibility for ensuring that their properties do not cause a nuisance to the neighbourhood in general.
We have served a number of enforcement notices and are actively considering a number of cases where use of Compulsory Purchase Orders may be made.
CPOs are however seen as a very last resort where owners are not engaging and the Council’s focus remains to support and advise owners.
The yearly National Empty Homes Week provides an opportunity for local authorities to organise events and put out information so that owners know what help is available locally to tackle empty homes.
And as part of its support for Empty Homes Week 2018, Rossendale Council is hosting an open day on Tuesday, October 16 where property owners can come into the Council and discuss any issues and get advice.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and book a convenient slot from 12.30pm – 6.30pm.
We can work with owners in various ways, including a match maker scheme which aims to introduce empty home owners who are looking to sell their property with people who are looking to purchase an empty property.
They can also receive a 15 per cent reduction of VAT on repairs to properties that have been empty for more than two years and we also work with Homesmatch who offer a Pre-Purchase Renovation scheme option which enables property owners to offer their property for sale with a built in renovation service in addition to marketing the property in its current form.
Finally we work with solicitors, estate agents and auctioneers to offer reduced rates to anyone looking to sell or rent their property.
Councillor Barbara Ashworth, Portfolio Holder for Health, Housing, Communities and Customer Service, said:
Empty properties can blight neighbourhoods, encourage anti-social behaviour and are a waste of accommodation.
We are committed to working together as a Council, with the public, owners, landlords and organisations to find ways in which empty properties can be returned to occupation.