It’s National Empty Homes Week from 16 to 22 October. North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council are using the opportunity to invite people to join a national campaign to raise awareness of empty properties in their locality and report these to their local authority. There are around 200,000 empty homes nationally with 1600 of these in North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland. 660 have been empty for over two years. Keeping a home empty can be a waste of a valuable asset and cost owners up to £10,000 per year.
There is a high demand for housing with around 4,000 households on the housing register across North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland. Bringing an empty home back into use for families is a priority for the councils. Cllr Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Housing, said: “Long-term empty properties can contribute towards the degeneration of an area and can become a focus of anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping or vandalism. “If brought back into use, these homes can contribute towards the local housing demand, and can be an extra source of income for owners.”
Cllr Tim Yarker, West Dorset District Councils Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “Refurbishing and repairing empty properties helps to improve the look and feel of a neighbourhood. If a property needs renovation, in certain circumstances owners could be eligible for a low cost loan.” When supported by the council, loans for up to £15,000 may be offered through Wessex Home Improvement Loans Ltd. More information about loans and grants can be found via dorsetforyou.com or by contacting our Empty Homes Officer on 01305 252469.
Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Leader of North Dorset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “We want to take a positive approach and return as many empty homes back into use as we can. “If you would like to report a property which you believe is empty, please contact Jackie Gaikwad our Empty Homes Officer on 01305 252469 or email firstname.lastname@example.org”