North Somerset Council determined to prevent rise in empty properties
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North Somerset Council is keen to work with the owners of more than 500 properties in the district to bring them back into use.
Empty homes are a wasted resource, with many left to deteriorate or be targeted for vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
Restoring empty properties and turning them into valuable homes is beneficial to both owners, tenants and the local community.
Deputy leader, Cllr Mike Bell, whose portfolio includes housing, said: “It is a real shame that when we need more quality homes across North Somerset when we have such a wasted resource.
"I would encourage any owners to get in touch to see how we can help to bring their properties back into use."
Currently, the council estimates there are more than 550 properties in North Somerset which have been empty for more than six months.
To prevent this number from rising, a council tax premium was introduced across the district in April of last year. This saw a 100 per cent increase in council tax for properties left empty for more than two years and a 200 per cent rise in those abandoned for five or more years.
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From April 1 this year, 300 per cent extra council tax will be charged on a property empty more than 10 years.
Cllr Bell added: "We want to work with owners where we can. However, if the condition of an empty property impacts neighbouring properties or locality, we can take enforcement action.
"These powers range from securing the property to prevent unauthorised access, to, in extreme cases, pursuing a compulsory purchase."
North Somerset Council can help landlords in a number of ways including providing an empty property loan to carry out essential works to get the property ready to rent or sell.
The council's letting team can help with finding and matching suitable tenants, free property checks, as well as providing ongoing advice and support for tenants and landlords.
For more information on empty properties in North Somerset, contact the council at firstname.lastname@example.org