ACTION is being taken to reduce the number of empty homes in the county, as it is estimated there are roughly 400 long-term empty houses in Dorset.

Dorset Council is highlighting the problem of long-term empty properties during Empty Homes Week, which is running from February 15 to February 21.

Demand for housing in the Dorset Council area is high, with more than 6,000 people looking for a suitable home on the housing register, and it is estimated there are around 400 long-term empty properties in Dorset.

The council's Housing Standards Team is urging people to come forward to report or seek help to deal with a long-term empty home, and will be using social media over this week to highlight the problem of empty properties in the county.

Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council portfolio holder for housing and community safety, said: "The council is now taking a wide range of action to bring long-term empty homes back into use.

"We need more housing for Dorset and empty homes can play a key part in helping us achieve that.

"Where empty homeowners don't want to work with us, we won't shy away from taking enforcement action to achieve our aims of creating more homes and improving our communities."

From April 2021, houses which have been empty for 10 years or more will be charged 400 per cent, or quadruple, council tax. This will mean an increase from £2,000 to £8,000 a year for a typical band D empty home.

The council has also warned that enforcement action will be taken if an empty home is affecting the local community. This can include compulsory purchase or taking over the property by an empty dwelling management order.

The council is actively working on more than 30 of the worst empty properties in the county where such action is either being progressed or considered.

Cllr Carr-Jones added: "If you know of a property that has been left empty for a long time or if you own an empty home, let the council know about it by registering it online."

To register an empty property, visit