At a time when there's a shortage of affordable housing in Hastings and St Leonards, it's vital to bring as many as possible empty properties back into use. If you know of, or are the owner of, an empty property that needs some work to bring it back into use, we may be able to help through the housing grants programme.
Report an Empty Home
If you think a residential property within the borough is empty you can report it to us using our online form.
We actively search information held internally such as Council Tax records, housing benefit and the electoral register, and this has brought a large number of properties to our attention. However, we also need the support of local residents and businesses if we are to obtain a true picture on the actual number and location of empty homes in the borough.
How Hastings Borough Council is tackling empty homes
We can offer advice to owners on how to bring a property back into use, we can assist owners who wish to sell, advise owners on how to find a suitable contractor or surveyor to help with renovations and also advise potential purchasers on buying an empty property.
We are also a hub for community members who are adversely effected by empty homes; we react to information that is supplied by the residents. Our response can be anything from having a property boarded up temporarily while the owner is being pursued to take responsibility, to serving a compulsory purchase order where the owners are stubbornly resistant to bringing their property back into use.
We also have a dedicated Empty Homes Officer who works with a wide ranging selection of partners so that when an empty home is brought to our attention, we are able ensure that the correct service is employed to deal with any concerns.
Empty Homes Strategy
The Government rightly identifies empty homes as a wasted asset. Hastings has a major shortage of affordable homes and returning empty homes back into use helps to meet the town's housing needs.
Our strategy shows how we'll build on our long track record in dealing with empty homes. It acknowledges the concerns of our community about empty and neglected homes together with related issues like vandalism, antisocial behaviour, the devaluing of surrounding homes and the image of the town.
Our strategy outlines how our Empty Homes Officer will keep working with partners to bring empty homes back into use and increase the supply of decent, affordable homes. It's divided into three parts:
- The first looks at why we need to bring empty homes back into use, the scale of the problem in the town and the progress made since 2000
- The second outlines our strategic priorities and objectives, how we'll achieve these and how we'll keep funding the strategy
- The third explains the links to other strategies and groups that can help us achieve our aims
Results of the draft Empty Homes Strategy consultation
- 45 formal responses were received
- The consultation posed two questions:
a) Do you think our priorities and objectives are the right ones?
b) What do you think should be included in the strategy?
- The first question received a 100% positive response.
- Feedback for the second question mainly affirmed agreement with the strategy. A few respondents wanted to see more publicity on empty homes, which is built into the action plan.
- Other respondents questioned the need for building new properties when so many existing properties were empty. This is considered beyond the scope of the empty homes strategy but to an extent will be picked up within the Local Development Framework.
- Some respondents felt that the proposals for action should be scaled up in light of the number of empty homes. This will need to be kept under review but the proposed strategy reflects the capital resources that are available at present through the Regional Housing Board allocation. Additional Regional Housing Board funding for 2009/10 has been allocated and this does provide an opportunity for increased empty homes funding in the short term.
- As a result of the consultation exercise and the largely positive response received, only a few minor amendments have been made to the strategy to make information more clear and understandable, such as the table on page 10 of the strategy, relating to numbers of empties by ward and length of time empty and how Empty dwelling Management Orders are processed.
Download the Hastings Empty Homes Strategy and Action Plan:
Please note: These documents may not be accessible for all users. If you would like to receive the documents in an accessible format please contact us.