Legislation allows council to sell empty, eyesore property

A house which has blighted a Bexhill street for years has been subject to an enforced sale by Rother District Council.

Legislation has been used to sell the property in Windsor Road to enable the council to recoup money owed by the owner after he failed to carry out work to bring the home up to standard.

Since 2018 officers from the Environmental Health Service have issued three Community Protection Notices (CPN) requiring the homeowner to carry out urgent work to repair render falling from the exterior of the property and deal with the overgrown garden.

When he failed to comply with the final CPN in December 2019, the district council organised for the work to be carried out and took the matter to court in July 2000, where the owner was ordered to pay more than £2,000 in fines and costs.

Simon Edwards, Senior Environmental Health Officer, said: “With the court charges and council tax fees outstanding, we felt like we had no choice but to take the next step.

“Allowing a property to get into such a state is extremely antisocial and has had a negative impact on other residents, and leaving it empty at a time when there are so many people in desperate need of housing is indefensible.

“We will always work with homeowners to support them in bringing empty properties back into use, but we hope that this action sends a strong message to other property owners that we will not stand by and let homes stand empty and fall into disrepair.”

With the property owner failing to pay the outstanding money, the property was sold at auction under the Law of Property Act 1925.   All outstanding debts and costs incurred have now been received by Rother District Council.

Mr Edwards added: “We now look forward to seeing the new owner bring a new lease of life to this property and bring it back into use for the first time in many years.”

As well as addressing the issue of properties that fall into a state of disrepair, Rother District Council is committed to preventing issues by bringing empty properties back into use.

Owners of homes that have stood empty and unfurnished for more than two years are now charged 100 per cent premium on top of their council tax, while those with homes which have stood empty for more than 5 years will have to pay a 200 per cent premium.

From April 2022, a 300 per cent premium will be charged for properties which have stood empty for more than ten years.

The authority offers financial incentives to owners of empty, unfurnished homes who let their properties to people working with the authority’s housing team. Anyone interested in letting or selling their long-term empty property can contact tenantfinder@rother.gov.uk

Empty properties can be reported online on our Empty Properties Form

Published: 22nd April 2021

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