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Empty and eyesore properties

Empty properties

The Environmental Protection team can take action against the owner if a property is empty and open for unauthorised access. Please note, the opening must be sufficient for a person to gain access; small openings and broken glazing aren't covered by the legislation we can use.

If there's an accumulation of waste material that poses a risk to health, we can also ensure it is removed.

You can use Report It to let us know about an empty property which is open for access. Choose 'Housing Concern' from the drop-down menu, then tick 'Open/insecure property'.

Alternatively, you can call the council's Environment Contact Centre on 01642 726001.

Eyesore properties

Eyesore properties are properties whose condition 'adversely affects the amenity of the area'. This usually includes properties in serious disrepair or a dilapidated condition.

The word 'amenity' is hard to legally define, because what classes as amenity varies between different towns and cities. As a guide, the Planning Portal gives this definition: 'A positive element or elements that contribute to the overall character or enjoyment of an area. For example, open land, trees, historic buildings and the inter-relationship between them, or less tangible factors such as tranquillity.'

Our approach is to work with the owner, where possible, and offer advice and assistance. If the owner is unable or unwilling to carry out any necessary improvement to the property, we're able to demand that repairs or other improvements are made to the property. We may carry out the works ourselves then recover the costs from the owner.

You can call the council's Environment Contact Centre on 01642 726001 to let us know about an eyesore property.

Overgrown gardens

Overgrown gardens may be unsightly but they're not normally considered to be eyesores. We therefore have very limited power to demand that improvements are made to gardens, particularly in the case of overgrown grass.