Wirral Council is well on target to meet the pledge it made to residents three years ago to bring 1,250 empty properties in the borough back into use by 2020.
Since April 2015 when the council made that promise as part of the Wirral Plan, nearly 900 properties that had been neglected or left unoccupied by their owners have been returned to the housing market, many as a result of the help and guidance offered by the council’s housing team.
To coincide with Empty Homes Week 2018, Wirral Council is once again highlighting the advice and assistance they can provide locally to help empty property owners bring homes back into use.
An Empty Property Grant, worth up to £5,000, could help with refurbishment costs of a property located within a designated Selective Licensing area which has been vacant for at least six months. Individuals can apply for a maximum of three separate Empty Property Grants per financial year.
The council can also support empty property owners find tenants or even sell their property. Properties can be advertised to thousands of potential tenants through the council’s Property Pool Plus website or buyers through the council’s developers list.
Cllr George Davies, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety, said: ‘Bringing empty homes in Wirral back into use is a top priority for the council and one which we spelt out our commitment to by setting an ambitious target of 1,250 improved and brought back into use in just five years.
‘While they do not contribute directly to meeting the house-building targets the Government has set for Wirral within the Local Plan that we are currently consulting residents on, fewer empty properties leads to reduced anti-social behaviour in an area and a greater choice of affordable housing for residents.’
As part of Empty Homes Week, the council’s housing team is staging a drop-in session for residents and empty home owners to learn more about what can be – and is being – done to address this issue in Wirral.
The drop in session will be held at Wallasey Town Hall on Thursday 18 October from 10am - 3pm.
Cllr Davies added: ‘I actively encourage owners of empty properties to get in touch with the council and find out how we can work together to bring more of them back into use. Residents can also let us know if there’s an empty property in their neighbourhood that is causing problems so we can encourage the owner to do something about it.’
Empty Homes Week is an annual, national campaign organised by the Empty Homes Agency to raise awareness of the impact empty properties can have on a community when left vacant.