Help us solve the borough's empty homes problem

30 November 2021

Hundreds of homes are sitting empty across the borough and the Council is inviting residents to share their views on our plans to solve this ongoing problem.

The Council’s proposed Empty Homes Strategy explains how we will achieve our aim of bringing 1000 empty properties back into use over the next five years.

Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Climate Emergency, said: “Since we published our last Empty Homes Strategy in 2016, the Council has made significant progress and brought 965 long-term empty homes back into use by working with their owners."

“This has provided much needed homes for our residents and improved neighbourhoods. It is a fantastic achievement but there are many more empty homes which need to be occupied."

“Empty homes are a wasted resource, a blight on their surrounding area, and often become a target for crime and anti-social behaviour. Despite there being many empty homes in our borough, there is a long list of people seeking affordable and supported housing because there is a shortage of available accommodation. One problem can help solve the other if the owners are happy to work with us."

“By bringing these empty homes back into use, we can begin to address these issues. We have many incentives for the owners who work with us, and we encourage them to play their part for their community by making their empty homes available for use again."

“Our plans are laid out in our proposed Empty Homes Strategy. We today invite residents to give their views on it so that we can work as a community to solve this ongoing issue.”

There are currently 4,827 empty homes in the borough. Many of these homes have been empty for less than six months and are either going through the sale process, undergoing renovation or awaiting probate following the death of the owner.

However, 1,504 of these empty homes have been empty for longer than six months, with 495 of these long-term empty homes being subject to the premium council tax charge (200% council tax), as they have been empty for at least two years. The Council is keen to work with the owners of these properties to bring them into use.

Owners of empty homes can benefit from incentives such as £2,000 empty home grants as well as conversion grants to pay for refurbishment or to convert commercial premises. Grants up to £15,000 are also available for landlords accepting tenants nominated by the Council. 
Residents are invited to have their say on the strategy by taking part in a new consultation: The consultation closes on 27 February. Residents’ feedback will shape the new strategy, which will be presented to Cabinet in Spring 2022.
More information on how landlords of empty homes can work with the Council is available at: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/housing/empty-homes/empty-homes.aspx
 

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