Published: Tuesday, 24th Sep 2019

Owners of empty homes in Bolton will get free advice on how to bring their property back in to use.

Before and after homes 2019As part of Empty Homes Week 2019, Bolton Council will hold a drop-in event at Castle Hill Centre on Thursday, September 26th from 3pm to 7pm.

The council’s empty property team works all year round helping turn long-term empty properties into occupied homes.

In most cases the council collaborates with owners and landlords, offering support and guidance to renovate buildings and make them available for sale or rent.

However, in severe cases, local authorities also have the power to take enforcement action against owners who do not cooperate.

Recent success stories include a property in Tonge Moor Road which required extensive work to the electrics, pipework, heating, kitchen, roofing, flooring and much more.

The owner approached the council for an interest free homes loan and used the funds to employ a contractor to carry out the work.

With renovation now complete, a tenant has moved in and the rental income is being used to pay back the initial loan.

Another property in the same road, which stood empty for four years, prompted numerous complaints from neighbours about the dilapidated appearance.

After being given an order to improve the property under the Town and Country Planning Act, the owner opted to sell to an investor.

The new owners carried out a high-quality renovation and extension project within just three months and promptly rented the property to a tenant.

Neighbours voiced similar concerns about a home in Lancaster Road which was left unoccupied for nine years.

The council initially stepped in to carry out essential works to the home, garden and boundary wall before invoicing the owner.

Following further complaints that the property had again become run down, the council informed the owner that the home would be subject to an enforced sale.

The owner instead decided to sell the property at auction and it is currently being renovated.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services Delivery, Cllr Adele Warren, said:

“When demand for housing is so high, there can be no excuse for leaving properties empty for years and allowing them to fall into a state of disrepair.

“These buildings often become eyesores for local communities and can attract pests or anti-social behaviour.

“As a first priority, our empty property team will always look to work constructively with owners to find a solution that works for everyone.

“If you have an empty property and are looking for advice and guidance, then Thursday’s event will be an ideal starting point.”