Information and advice relating to empty properties in the district
What is classed as an 'empty home'?
A property which has been empty (unoccupied) for six months or more is considered to be a long term empty home.
Central government encourages councils to take action to bring empty homes back into use and use their powers under the Housing Act 2004 as well as other legislation to achieve this.
Negative impact of empty properties
A property which is left empty and not maintained will over time begin to impact on its surroundings including neighbouring properties whose condition and value might be adversely affected.
Empty properties are at risk from being broken into by vandals and squatters and may become a target for arson.
Advantages of bringing empty properties back into use
- Prevents the negative impact on a neighbourhood
- Reduces the need to build more new homes
- The reuse of existing buildings is generally more environmentally sustainable than building new homes
- It can act as a catalyst for wider regeneration by building confidence in the housing market
What do we do about empty properties?
The Private Sector Housing Team contact the owners of empty properties and offer advice and support to those wishing to bring the property back into use.
Advice on any available government funded loans eg empty homes loans through the Kent wide 'No Use Empty' campaign, will be given where appropriate.
Enforcement action can also be taken to ensure that long term empty properties are brought back into use.
Our award winning scheme to bring empty properties back into use
No Use Empty Plus (NUE+) is a national award winning scheme run jointly between us and Kent County Council. The main aim is to provide loans to bring empty properties back into use as quality housing accommodation for either rent or sale.
We recognised that there was scope to provide extra finance on top of the existing NUE £25K per unit (provided by KCC), as some projects took more money to make them viable.
As a result of this we will now provide another £15K per unit of accommodation as a "top up" to give a £40K limit , which has already proved very popular and helped to provide homes where it was thought not previously possible.
As with the existing NUE scheme, the main criteria is for the property to be empty for 6 months or over, with the loan secured by means of a land registry charge. The loan can then be repaid either when the property is sold or after 3 years if it has been available for rental.
Report an empty property
If you have concerns that a property is insecure or that a property in your neighbourhood has been empty for a long period, you can report it to us by using the button below. Our officers will then make enquiries to find out who owns the property.