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Report an empty property

Empty homes image

We are keen to minimise the number of empty properties in Swindon. An empty property is one which has been vacant for over six months.

Why are there empty homes in Swindon?

Each empty property has its own story. Most are left empty because the owner lacks the time, money, knowledge and/or will to get it back into good use.

Some common reasons for homes being left empty are:

  • a lack of money for repair work
  • waiting for planning permission
  •  inheritance issues
  • family disputes or divorce settlements
  • repossession and complex legal or insurance problems
  • owners not knowing how to get homes back into use
  • housing market conditions, waiting for the right time to sell
  • buy to let proving harder work than many people expected

Why do we care about empty properties?

Properties that are left empty for long periods can be a concern for a number of reasons:

  • They can attract crime, arson, vandalism, squatting and anti-social behaviour
  • They can be a financial burden on their owners (it is estimated that it costs roughly £5,000 a year to keep a home empty)
  • They are a wasted resource in an area of high housing need
  • They can cause anxiety for local residents and reduce the quality of life in a neighbourhood

Returning empty homes to use eliminates these concerns and can provide a number of benefits:

  • It can give owners a financial return
  • It improves the quality of a neighbourhood
  • It brings much needed housing back into the supply pool

What can the council do to help me with my empty home?

We understand that bringing an empty home back into use can be a stressful, time consuming and expensive process. Our Empty Homes Officer is available to assist with advice and support to help you turn your empty property into a home.

We can provide a range of advice and assistance, including:

  • identifying suitable uses for your property
  • advice on the local housing market and demand for properties
  • advice on basic legal issues relating to your property
  • advice on selling your property to a developer or other buyer
  • advice on letting your property through local agents
  • advice on renovating empty properties, including reductions in VAT levels

How can I report an empty home?

If you would like to know more about the assistance available or if you would like to report an empty home, contact us using the details below.

What if I decide to leave my property empty?

We are happy to offer owners of empty properties all available advice and assistance to bring their properties back into use. However, we recognise that a small minority of owners will not be willing to work with us. In these situations we will responsibly employ our enforcement powers to protect the interests of local residents.

These include:

  • serving improvement notices requiring owners to bring properties up to current housing safety standards
  • applying for an enforced sale or compulsory purchase order (Law of Property Act 1925)
  • a demolition order (only in extreme cases)

Further information

Empty Homes Officer
3rd Floor
Wat Tyler House East
Beckhampton Street
Swindon
SN1 2JG

Tel: 07824 868354
Email: emptyhomes@swindon.gov.uk

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