Enforcement powers will be used to bring Calderdale's empty homes back into life

The house in Mixenden, before and after
The house in Mixenden, before and after

Enforcement powers will be used to ensure owners of empty homes in Calderdale take action to solve the issue.

That is the message from Calderdale Council after it was revealed that 1,530 homes have been empty for longer than six months.

Councillor Daniel Sutherland, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Environment, said the Council’s preference is always to work with homeowners to proactively resolve the issue of empty homes, but in some cases it has to use its enforcement powers to ensure owners of empty properties take action.

These powers could include the enforced sale of a property to cover the costs incurred by the Council for work including the removal of fly-tipping or the boarding up of windows and doors to secure the property.

“There are a number of empty homes in Calderdale and we are urging empty home owners to come forward and take support from the Council to bring them back into use," said Coun Sutherland. "

For those who don’t, we will be taking a more rigorous approach in future.

“We know there are many different reasons why a home might be empty, but having properties being unused is unacceptable, especially when there are people in need of homes and those who are struggling to get on the housing ladder. ”

One property in Ash Tree Gardens in Mixenden fell into a severe state of disrepair and began to attract anti-social behaviour, as well as continued costs to make it secure.

An order for enforced sale was used to buy the home, which was then sold to a developer who carried out a full renovation for sale to bring the property back into use.

As a last resort, the Council may have to use Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to tackle more problematic empty properties, where owners fail to take any action to address the resulting issues which are being caused in the local community. CPOs are now being prepared for application on some long-term empty properties in Calderdale, after the owners have had support and time to return them to use but have not taken the required steps.