Woking Council have just placed a new blog on their site. It can be seen here, and says:
Empty homes can be a burden on local neighbourhoods which is why this Empty Homes Week, Woking Borough Council is urging local landlords to take the relevant measures to prevent their homes from falling vacant for long periods of time.
Unoccupied properties can attract vermin, antisocial behaviour, squatters and detract from the visual amenity of the local area. In efforts to minimise this from occurring, qualifying empty homeowners are able to seek support from the council and receive:
- professional renovation advice and project management, to help bring a home back to life
- free garden clearing service
- financial support including loans, grants and advice
- help with selling your property
- access to our in-house tenant letting service, ‘Let’s Rent’, helping landlords find tenants and housing those who need it the most.
Cllr Debbie Harlow, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing Services, said: “Empty homes are a let down to the community, becoming an eyesore overtime and an antisocial behaviour hotspot.
“We are committed to supporting local people and providing suitable housing to those who need it most. Bringing empty homes back into use is a sustainable way of increasing the overall supply of housing, helping us to assist more people and reducing the blight on neighbourhoods.
“I encourage owners of empty properties to come forward so we can work together to maximise the borough’s potential.”
Properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for a period of at least two years are subject to a Council Tax premium of a 100% increase on the standard Council Tax, meaning they are liable for double the Council Tax. After five years, the premium increases by 200%.
It is estimated that approximately 392 properties in Woking have been vacant for more than six months. Returning empty homes back into use can enhance local neighbourhoods through:
- maintaining property values,
- providing increased housing options for local residents and,
- improving the sense of pride in a local neighbourhood.