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Exciting plans for The Harris

The Harris will temporarily close from 5pm on Saturday 2 October.

Empty home owners and responsible ownership

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There are a range of options available to an owner, including:

  • Living in the property yourself or moving in a relative or friend
  • Renting or leasing your property
  • Selling your property on to an owner/occupier, developer or housing association

Making Homes from Houses Project

The making homes from house project, in partnership with Community Gateway Association (CGA), aims to renovate empty properties so they can be brought back into use as a home for those in housing need.

If you are interested in either selling or the repair and lease of your property through the project see Making Homes from Houses Project .

Selling, letting and renovating your property

It's more valuable to have a property lived in than to have it vacant. To find out how we can help you advertise your property, plus  information around letting and renovating, see Selling, letting or renovating an empty home

Law enforcement action

We prefer to work with you to bring properties back into use, but sometimes enforcement has to be considered. For more information see empty homes and enforcement action.

Council tax and exemptions

Some empty properties are entitled to a council tax discount. For more information please visit Council Tax and empty properties.

For more empty home owner information see the useful websites section.

Reducing the risk of criminal damage

Empty homes are often a target for criminal damage and anti-social behaviour such as:

  • illegal activities
  • anti social behaviour
  • arson attacks

The best way to reduce the risks associated with empty homes is to make sure they are occupied. However, we understand that a  property is likely to remain empty for some time if a major renovation is required on an empty property to bring it up to a decent standard.

Overall, there are many social, economic and environmental reasons for tackling the problems associated with empty homes.

Here are some ways you can reduce the risk of criminal damage occurring to an empty property: 

  • Make it look occupied - curtains, particularly nets, at the windows give the impression that the property is occupied. Even better, if you can put a hall light on a timer so it comes on in the evening and goes off again during the day
     
  • Switch off the utilities - particularly if it is likely to be some time before a property is reoccupied. The utility suppliers should be able to stop supplies reaching the property, but remember to include all utilities
     
  • Keep the exterior of the property well maintained - clean the windows, clear guttering, deal with repairs quickly and keep it secure. You will be liable if poor maintenance of your property has an impact on the neighbouring properties
     
  • Keep the gardens tidy and clear of rubbish - overgrown gardens attract fly tipping and vermin, which the owner becomes responsible for
     
  • If you are renovating a property, make sure all building materials are out of sight - Keeping the property fully secure should minimise the risk of unauthorised entry to the property and anything of value being removed, including copper piping from under floorboards, boilers and so on
     
  • Remove mail regularly - this can pose an arson threat in empty homes
     
  • Insure your empty property - a number of companies are now providing insurance policies suitable for empty properties, so you should be able to find one to suit your needs
     
  • Inform council tax - some empty properties are entitled to a council tax discount. For more information see council tax and empty properties.

How we tackle empty homes

Preston is a growing city and with this comes the need for more housing. We support local growth and the right of its residents to decent housing, by reducing the number of long term empty homes in the city and the problems they cause.

We work with long term empty home owners to help them find the best way to get their property occupied, through advice and assistance or by finding buyers or development partners.

We also work with different departments and partners to deal with the problems associated with empty homes.

For more information around the benefits of getting properties occupied see the Empty Homes Strategy 2014 - 2019 from the downloads section.

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