Rotherham Empty Homes Plan 2019-22
Empty properties account for around 3% of the housing market in Rotherham at any one time. A proportion of these can be considered a part of a well-functioning housing market, however others are more problematic and further work is needed to help turn empty property into much needed homes.
The Rotherham Empty Homes Plan sets out a number of ways in which the Council will support and encourage homeowners to bring empty properties back into use whilst working to reduce the number of long term empty properties, which cause blight in our neighbourhoods. This intervention will range from working with owners, providing information, advice or incentives through to enforcement activity to address the negative impact that problematic long-term properties can have on our communities.
How can bringing empty properties back into use help?
- Neighbourhoods – Empty homes can cause unnecessary blight in our neighbourhoods. Successful work in the Borough has shown that focused intervention can bring about estate-based improvements
- Housing need – there is an increasing need for more homes across the Borough. Housing supply has not kept up with demand for many years, bringing back existing empty properties can also contribute to meeting the historic shortfall
- Homelessness – there are increasing numbers of people homeless or facing homelessness
- Affordable Housing – there are over 6,000 applicants on the Councils waiting list who are trying to access good quality, affordable homes
- Owners – empty homes cost money, including increasing Council Tax rates, security, and maintenance
The Council has embarked on its largest development programme in decades in order to increase the numbers of new homes to the levels needed; bringing back empty homes can also be part of the solution.
- Identify and maintain information about the empty property picture across the Borough and share intelligence across services
- Make it easy for members of the public to report empty properties
- Take a strategic approach to dealing with empty properties and prioritise the most problematic properties
- Be proactive by encouraging and supporting empty property owners to bring them back into use
- Build on the empty property toolkit and work collaboratively to make the most of all available resource
- Be prepared to take enforcement action where appropriate
- Monitor progress and communicate positive intervention
There are many genuine reasons why a property is left empty, but the majority of empty homes can be brought back into use;
- Initial contact
- Online support / toolkit
- Highlight benefits
- Enforcement notices
- Technical advice
- Support with planning issues
- Escalation of Enforcement
- Leasing / lettings options
- Prepare for Enforced Sale, Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO), Compulsory Purchase Order
- Council tax premium increase
5 years and over:
- Action an Enforced Sale, EDMO, Compulsory Purchase Order
- Further council tax premium increase
How will success be measured?
The Council has a dedicated Empty Homes Officer who will be responsible for delivery of the plan and will co-ordinate the Councils response to empty homes across the Borough. The officer will be responsible for demonstrating successes via an Empty Homes dashboard which will include;
- The total number of empty properties in the Borough
- Broken down by short / long term properties
- The total number of empty properties brought back into use
- With / without council intervention
- Number of empty property enquiries (eventually automated via website)
- Number of empty properties resulting let to Council waiting list applicants / used to prevent / alleviate homelessness
- External funding secured
- Wider value of property brought back into use (calculation to be agreed)