Empty houses can quickly fall into disrepair with nobody there to carry out basic maintenance tasks or notice any potential problems before they escalate.

Building work can be expensive and stressful so it is important you choose the right builder to work for you. It is not only the dishonest ‘cowboys’ you want to avoid, some very honest and genuine tradesman are just not up to the job.

Any reputable tradesman will be willing to provide evidence that they can do the work to the standard you want. There are some websites which help people find local tradesmen.

Certification

Certain types of work need to be certified by a registered tradesman. If you need any work to gas supply or equipment you should look out for a Gas Safe registered contractor. Solid fuel engineers are registered with HETAS. Oil engineers are registered with OFTEC. Works to the electrical installation at the property should be carried out by an appropriately registered electrician. There are a number of electrical self certification schemes, the main ones being NICEIC and ECA. Contact the Building Control section for more details.

Other types of work (not generally minor repairs or decoration) require a Building Regulations application. A good builder should be able to help you with this.

Architects

If you are worried about organising the work it is a good idea to contact a local architect. They will be able to guide you towards a builder and set up contracts of work as well as visit the site while works are ongoing to sort out any problems. They will charge you a fee which you will need to pay on top of the cost of the building work.

Planning Permission

You will not normally need planning permission to carry out repairs to your house. You may need to apply however if you have a listed building or if the property is in a conservation area and you are carrying out works to the outside of the building.

You are likely to need planning permission if you intend to change the use of the building e.g. from commercial to a dwelling, or if you are converting to a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) or to flats. More information on planning permission can be found on our Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) page.

Housing Improvement Agency

Ceredigion County Council have an In House Agency, called the Housing Improvement Agency, which can help you to organise repair and renovation work or draw up plans for conversion. This is particularly useful if you have been asked to carry out the work in the first place by an officer of the Council as the Housing Improvement Agency is located in the same department and can work closely with other officers to ensure the correct works are carried out.

Much like any other architect, the Home Improvement Agency will charge a fee for organising and overseeing the work.

In some instances, for example where a Notice has been served due to nuisance or disrepair, the Local Authority will carry out works to an empty property regardless of the owner. In these cases it is the Housing Improvement Agency who will organise for the work. The fee will be charged to the property as well as the cost of the work.