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Your guide to managing empty homes in Knowsley

by KMBC

This week (from Monday 23 September – Monday 30 September 2019) is national Empty Homes Week. During this week Knowsley Council is highlighting the routes homeowners can take if they have an empty property. From VAT reductions for renovations, to free landlord accreditation schemes, here is your guide to managing an empty property.

What to do if you have an empty property

Properties become empty for a variety of reasons and owners are often busy with their everyday lives meaning properties can be left empty for long periods of time. Unaware of how much it’s actually costing them – which can leave empty home owners out of pocket by as much as £11,000 – or the options available, bringing properties back into use benefits both the owners and local communities.

  1. Sell the property – The most straight forward option is to market the property for sale. You can either use the traditional method of finding a high street estate agent who will have local knowledge of the area, will market you property for sale and conduct viewings for a set fee or a percentage. Online only agents offer a similar service to high street lettings agents but without high street presence and cost much less than high street agents. Alternatively, you may look to put your property through an auction house.
  2. Letting your property – By letting out your property you will receive a regular income but you will ultimately be responsible for the up keep of the property. Landlords traditionally have two choices when it comes to finding tenants and managing properties; pay a high street letting agent for a let only or management service or do it themselves.

Landlords choosing an agent should opt for a reputable lettings agent, who is a member of a registered body such as the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) or the UK Association of Lettings Agents (UKALA) and will be up to date with all the current legislation. For further information please visit the ARLA website and the UKALA website. Alternatively, do it yourself but remember it’s important you comply with the current landlord legislation.

Knowsley Landlord Accreditation Scheme (KLAS)

It’s advised that you become accredited with your local authority or join a national organisation such the Residential Landlords Association or the National Landlords Association. Alternatively Knowsley Council offer the KLAS – a voluntary scheme designed to recognise good quality, well managed private sector accommodation in Knowsley. Unlike other similar schemes the Knowsley Landlord Accreditation Scheme is free to join!

Cllr Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said

“The new, online Landlord Accreditation Portal delivers improvements to the accreditation scheme creating a modern and user friendly system. I urge any landlord operating in Knowsley to register and take advantage of the benefits for them and their tenants.”

For more information on the scheme and renting privately in Knowsley please call 0151 443 2340 or email: housing@knowsley.gov.uk; alternatively you can visit the Knowsley Council website.

Before-and-after: a former empty home in Knowsley

Take advantage of reduced VAT

Support is available for the renovation of empty properties through a reduction in VAT you or you builder will pay 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.

You can contact your empty homes officer on 0151 443 4712 or email empty.homes@knowsley.gov.uk