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Abandoned property brought back into use

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A long-abandoned home with a garden so overgrown it encroached onto neighbouring properties will be brought back into use as a result of action by Stroud District Council’s Environmental Health Officers.

The three-bedroom property had been empty for a number of years before concerned neighbours contacted SDC to request assistance in 2019.

When officers inspected the property they found the interior was so damp that moisture-loving ferns were flourishing inside, and the structure badly damaged by years of neglect.

Extensive efforts were made to contact the owner and encourage them to bring the property back into use. Despite numerous attempts to engage with the owner, officers successfully applied for a County Court order to force the sale of the house.

unnamed 71 | Abandoned property brought back into use

The house, which requires extensive renovations to make it habitable, has been sold by auction. The council’s costs will be taken from the proceeds.

“There is a shortage of housing in the district, so we will do all we can to encourage empty homes to be brought back into use,” said Cllr Mattie Ross, Chair of SDC’s Housing Committee

“We offer homeowners an interest free Empty Homes Loan of up to £15,000 for repairs and refurbishment to properties that have been empty for more than 12 months if they are then used for affordable rented housing.”

Cllr Lucas Schoemaker, Vice Chair added: “Long term empty homes are a blight for communities and can attract anti-social behaviour.

At Stroud District Council’s February Housing Committee meeting members agreed to implement a council tax premium on second homes and widen the current council tax premium for properties empty between one and five years (currently two and five years) from April 2025 in an effort to encourage more homes to be brought into use.

If you have a long-term empty property near you which is causing a concern please let us know using the Report It tab on our website. We will check whether the owner is being charged the correct level of council tax for an empty home and make contact the owner.

If you own an empty property and would like advice about how to bring it back into use can find advice on our website at https://www.stroud.gov.uk/housing/private-sector-housing/empty-homes

This week is Action on Empty Homes Week, which celebrates local authorities’ work and initiatives on taking action on empty homes. The 2024 theme is `Powers in Action.’ Find out more at https://www.actiononemptyhomes.org/

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