It’s Empty Homes Week, and Knowsley Council is raising awareness of the work it does to reduce the number of empty homes having a negative impact on our communities.
The council will always look to work proactively with owners of empty properties, to help them bring their homes back into occupation. Over the last year, Knowsley Council’s specialist Empty Homes officers have worked with 104 empty home owners to support them in bringing houses back into use. Knowsley Council also uses its powers as a local authority to take enforcement action against those who are not taking proper responsibility for their properties.
Properties that been left empty for a long time, can become a blight on our communities and can become a target for anti-social behaviour. There are varied and complex reasons why homes can become long term empty properties, which can include:
- Owners being unable to deal with the challenge of returning empty homes back into use once occupants leave
- Owners and/or occupants suffering from health or financial difficulties
- People inheriting properties which they are not willing or able to maintain, or even aware of the fact they have inherited them
- Investors leaving properties empty following purchase
- Properties that have been or are in the process of being repossessed
Where empty properties are damaged, Knowsley’s dedicated Empty Homes Officers, engage with the owners of the property, to ensure they are secured as soon as possible. On occasions when owners fail to resolve these issues, the council carries out work to ensure the property is secured, with all associated costs are then passed over to the owner.
The owners of properties that have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 2 years or more, may need to pay an empty home premium of 100%, increasing to 300% for 10 years or more, on top of the full Council Tax charge for their property, depending on the length of time empty.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said:
“We want our neighbourhoods to be vibrant and thriving which includes properties being occupied. Sometimes empty properties can be a target for anti-social behaviour and criminal damage and blight our communities. We are doing all that we can to identify empty properties and will work with the owners to bring them back into use.”
Support is available for the renovation of long-term empty properties through a reduction in VAT that is paid on certain elements of the refurbishment, depending on how long the property has been empty, with a two-year and ten-year empty discount. You can find specific details on VAT reductions on the Government’s website.
Further information about empty homes in Knowsley is available on the Council’s website.