Empty Homes Policy


1.1 Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (the Council or council) has not previously had an empty homes policy. Historically the number of long-term empty homes in the borough has been considered to be relatively low and those that are empty have on the whole been well maintained. Therefore the need for a strategy has not been deemed necessary. 

1.2 We have however kept the situation under review, and whilst the number of empty homes reported has only increased slightly, since the Covid pandemic more neglectful conditions are apparent and engaging with some owners more difficult. 

1.3 Not only are empty homes a wasted resource, particularly when considered against the need for housing, when these long-term vacant dwellings are neglected they can have an adverse impact on the local community. In order to take some of the enforcement measures necessary, it is recommended that the council develop and publish an empty homes policy.

1.4 This policy document explains the council’s approach to empty homes in the borough. It also sets out the measures the authority can employ to address those empty homes that are having a detrimental impact on the community and bring them back into use to help meet local housing need. This Policy is primarily focussing on privately owned empty homes that are long term empty.  This policy does not include council housing properties.