Many people in Cheshire East need homes. However, with land to build new houses scarce in places, reusing empty homes is an extremely sensible source of housing.
This week is National Empty Homes Week – an opportunity to focus on how we can make the best possible use of our available resources.
A significant number of empty homes are ‘transactional’ empty homes – this could mean that they are being refurbished, are on the market for sale or to let, or are part of a person’s estate that is being finalised. These properties will often come back into use as a matter of course without the need for any intervention.
There are also empty homes where the owner is unable to bring the home back into use without some help. This might be because they don’t have the time, knowledge, or money to do whatever is necessary to bring the home back into use. We want to support these owners to bring homes back into use, where they are struggling to do this on their own.
In December, the council determined that properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least 10 years will be subject to a 300 per cent premium effective from 1 April 2021, so now is most certainly the time to review what you can do.
Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “In Cheshire East, we are extremely fortunate that the number of empty homes we have in the borough is extremely low. Even with that being the case, it’s no reason for us to become complacent, which is why bringing empty homes back into use is part of our draft corporate plan.
“My ask of any resident of Cheshire East who may be the owner of an empty home in the borough is, please do talk to our housing experts, who can help to provide you with the information you may need to resolve your circumstances.”
Occasionally, people buy houses as investments and decide to leave these properties empty until the market improves. The council will consider the use of legal powers against people who leave a property empty without good reason.
If you are aware of a property that has remained empty for some time, the council would like to know about it. The easiest way to do that is to complete our ‘Report an Empty Home’ online form and share with us. If you own a property that has been empty for a period of time, then we can also support you. Please call 0300 123 5017, select option 4 and we will be very happy to help.