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There are a many reasons why a property becomes empty; but it is clear that empty homes represent waste, financial expense and missed opportunities.
Like most councils, Bournemouth has a shortage of affordable housing. By bringing empty homes back into use we can help to reduce the housing waiting list and reduce the number of ‘new homes’ built on ‘green field’ sites.
Empty properties can attract anti social behaviour, fly-tipping, vandalism and squatters. These not only reduce the value of the empty property, but also that of neighbouring properties. If you are the owner of an empty property you still have a responsibility to ensure that your property is safe and secure; does not create a statutory nuisance affecting your neighbours and is not an eyesore.
If such properties are brought to our attention we usually adopt an initial informal approach, contacting the owner by phone or letter to explain what needs to be done. However, if the problems need to be dealt with urgently, or there is lack of action from the owner, the Council may take a more formal approach. For example, in the case of unsecured properties this may mean emergency ‘boarding up’ and the recovery of the costs from the owner.
Formal action may be taken where necessary, but any action we take will be balanced and fair and in accordance with our Enforcement Policy|.
There are selections of options available to owners such as a lease scheme through a housing partner, a charitable lettings scheme and a scheme enabling owners too rent to council nominated tenants. For further information read our Options Guide|.
Bournemouth Borough Council is obliged to publish a list of all commercially and council owned empty properties in the Borough. Please note that empty properties subject to major works are not included. Click on the link to view the full list of commercially owned empty properties|.
These discretionary grants are available to the owners of empty homes to help with repairs and improvements to enable the home to be brought back into use.
To qualify for grant assistance, the empty home must have been un-occupied for a period of at least 6 months prior to the grant application date.
On receipt of a completed application form, the Council will inspect a property using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and a schedule of works will be drawn up. This will help to identify which works can be grant aided. The owner will be responsible for funding those works required to rectify Category 1 hazards and the grant will be available to fund work required to eliminate Category 2 hazards and bring the property up to the decent homes standard.
There are conditions attached to the grant and you can find out more about these and how to apply by clicking on this link to the Council’s Grants Policy|.
Alternatively, please contact the Grants Team on 01202 451334 for further information.
The Council has published an Empty Homes Strategy|, setting out the aims of the Council in dealing with empty homes and these include:
• To develop options that will encourage and assist owners to bring their empty properties back into use.
• To improve the condition of empty homes towards meeting the Decent Homes Standard before occupying.
• To bring homes back into use to meet the Council’s homelessness duties.
• To proactively promote options to owners of empty homes.
• To maximise funding opportunities available to bring empty homes back into use.
To find out more about the options for empty home owners or to report an empty home in your neighbourhood, please contact us on:
Email: PrivateSector.Housing@bournemouth.gov.uk| or Telephone: 01202 451305
Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at the empty homes ’Frequently Asked Questions’ (PDF)|
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