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Empty homes

An empty property is a wasted resource both for the owner of the property and those in need of housing.

Properties which are left vacant for extended periods of time can cause problems for the local environment, the surrounding community and attract anti-social behaviour.

What we can do to help

The Council offers FREE help and advice to owners of empty properties and will assist owners in bringing the property back into use.

Tax Relief

Owners of empty homes are entitled to VAT relief on certain renovation costs associated with bringing a property back into use. If a property has been empty for 2 years or more the standard rate of VAT is reduced down to 5% on renovations. Please contact the Empty Homes Officer if you require a letter to state how long the property has been unoccupied. There are also other exemptions with regard to VAT, such as properties which are Listed. It is worth looking on the HMRC website to find out more.

Empty Homes Loan

This initiative aims to bring unused properties back into use and increase the housing supply in the area. The loan will help owners turn their empty properties into much needed homes in the Stroud District and can also provide owners with an additional rental income. The new Empty Homes Loan is an interest free loan that aims to help owners of empty properties return them back into use for affordable rented housing. If the property has been empty for over 12 months then a loan could be available for up to a maximum of £15,000 for repairs and refurbishment. The loan is only repaid when the property is sold or is no longer available for rent at an affordable rent level.

Enforcement Action

There is a variety of legislation that can be used to address particular problems that are being caused by an empty property. Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) were introduced in the Housing Act 2004 and came into force in April 2006. If an owner refuses all voluntary options to bring the property back into use, EDMOs maybe considered. The EDMO allows Councils to take over the management of empty residential properties with a view to agreeing with owners a plan to bring the property back into occupation. Under the Law of Property Act 1925 the Council is given the power to Enforced the Sale of empty properties in order to release the money tied up in the value of the property to pay for works that the Council has undertaken. Ultimately the Council has the power to use a Compulsory Purchase Order.

Gloucestershire Empty Property Framework 2008

This report focuses on tackling the issue of empty homes at a countywide level, bringing together information and actions from existing strategies within Gloucestershire to produce an effective coordinated approach to tackling the problems of empty homes.

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