People urged to bring empty homes back into use as part of National Empty Homes Week

Harrogate Borough Council is urging residents and properties owners to bring empty homes back into use as part of National Empty Homes Week.

National Empty Homes Week, taking place from Monday 28 February Sunday 6 March, aims to bring empty homes back in to use by highlighting the options available to property owners.

There are currently around 200 empty private properties across the Harrogate district that have been empty for more than two years. The borough council are keen to work with owners to bring them back into use so they can provide homes for residents.

Last year, the council launched the empty homes loan to help property owners carry out essential repairs to their property and bring them back into use.

The loan is for anyone who owns a property, which has been empty for more than six months, and wants to carry out repairs or improvement works but does not have the money to do so. Priority will also be given to properties that have been empty for two years or longer.

Further information is available on the council’s website or by emailing: emptyproperty@harrogate.gov.uk.

Private landlords with an empty home looking for a way to let out their property might be interested in the council’s rent bond scheme. The scheme assists private landlords find suitable tenants for their properties by providing a deposit to assist tenants secure a new tenancy.

The council also provides suitability and affordability checks to ensure tenants and properties are best matched, as well as ongoing contact and support. Landlords interested in this scheme can contact the council rent bond team on 01423 500600.

Councillor Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing and safer communities, said:

We want to work with property owners who, for whatever reason, have an empty property that could be better used to provide a home for local people.

There are options available, including the empty homes loan or rent bond scheme to carry out repairs or improvement works and bring them back into use. I’d urge anyone who is interested to get in touch.

Sometimes there are empty properties that are unknown to the council, which might be causing concern for the local community. Residents can report an empty property to the council’s empty homes officer who will investigate further and contact the property owner and explain the options available.

As a last resort, when homes are left empty and owners aren’t proactive in returning them to use, the council can make a compulsory purchase order under Section 17 of the 1985 Housing Act.

Councillor Chambers added:

When we have exhausted all options, we will look to make a compulsory purchase order to bring empty homes back into use. But we would much prefer working with property owners and highlight the options available to them.

Harrogate Informer