Empty Property Strategy 2006-2009

An empty property can be very distressing for neighbours, as it can become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, and is also at risk of being squatted.  Owners of empty property often live elsewhere and are unaware of the impact their empty property is having on the local community.

Empty property is a wasted resource in an area of high housing need. In Brighton & Hove the housing supply is limited and there are further restrictions as the city is surrounded by the South Downs and the sea limiting the land available to build. An empty property brought back into use is another home for someone in the city, it can improve a neighbourhood and benefit the owner - all at the same time!

The starting point of our Empty Property Strategy is to work with the property owner where possible.  Each empty property is different and there are many reasons why they become empty, and it is important to be understanding of all different situations.

However, it is also important to recognise that an empty property is a blight on a neighbourhood and a wasted resource. Owners should know that while we would prefer to work with them, non-action is not an option. By owning a property they have a responsibility for it and must act accordingly.

For further information, download our  Empty_Property_Strategy_2006_to_2009 [PDF 903 kb]

What we have achieved

The council has local target to bring 150 empty homes back into use in 2008/09.  We have exceeded our targets over the last six years.  This was previoulsy reported under the national  Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) 64. 

As well as working with owners of empty properties;

  • officers were awarded the Empty Homes Agency Good Practice Award 2004 for the "Most Innovative Partnership Scheme" for working with Brighton Housing Trust, South Downs NHS Trust and Brighton Primary Care Trust to provide accommodation for people leaving hospital.
  • officers continued to work with owners of empty property in the Lewes area on behalf of Lewes District Council. Brighton & Hove City Council have been doing this since 2002.
  • officers worked closely with the Council Tax Team to improve records of empty properties by developing a new Empty Property Database.
  • the council approved  a new policy for Compulsory Purchase Order action as a last resort to deal with long term empty properties.
  • officers share experiences and expertise with neighbouring authorities at the Sussex Empty Homes Forum and currently act as Chair.  The Forum has recently formulated a Strategic Framework.  For more information, download the SEHF_Strategic_Framework_2008-2011_[PDF 1533kb].  

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