Councils across Dorset are backing a national campaign to bring empty houses back into use for families in need.

As part of National Empty Homes week, which commences today, the tri-council Dorset Councils Partnership is raising awareness of the empty properties in their localities alongside the high housing demands.

There are around 200,000 empty homes nationally with 1,600 of these in Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset and North Dorset.

Councillor Gill Taylor, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s housing spokesperson, said: “Long term empty properties can contribute towards the degeneration of an area and can become a focus of anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping or vandalism.

“If brought back into use, these homes can contribute towards the local housing demand and can be an extra source of income for owners.”

There is an increasing demand for housing in the area, with around 4,000 households on the registers across Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, West Dorset District Council and North Dorset District Council. Bringing an empty home back into use for these families is a priority across the board.

Keeping an empty home can also be a waste of a valuable asset for owners, costing upwards of £10,000 per year.

Councillor Tim Yarker, WDDC’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “Refurbishing and repairing empty properties helps to improve the look and feel of a neighbourhood. If a property needs renovation, in certain circumstances owners could be eligible for a low cost loan.”

If supported by the council, homeowners could be eligible for loans of up to £15,000 offered through Wessex Home Improvement Loans Ltd.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, leader of NDDC Graham Carr-Jones said:”We want to take a positive approach and return as many empty homes back into use as we can.”

To report an empty property contact officer Jackie Gaikwad on 01305 252469 or email

More information at or from 01305 252469.