When properties stay empty longer than six months without any obvious signs of renovation or rental they may be classed as 'empty homes'. We may be able to offer owners of empty properties some help with a low cost loan, to bring the property back into use.

Why are homes left empty?

The most common reasons for homes becoming empty are due to the previous occupant:-

  • Passing away
  • Moving to a hospital or institution
  • Being evicted or repossessed
  • Being unable to rent the property due to maintenance or value issues.

Homes may be left empty for many different reason.  This area is a part of the country where housing is in short supply. The Council is keen to work with owners to try to bring as many empty homes as possible back in to use. 

Why are empty homes a problem?

Empty homes cost their owners money in council tax, insurance, repairs and security but don't produce an income. Keeping a home empty can cost £10,000 a year (including lost rental income).

Empty properties can cause other problems, such as

  • The condition of the house deteriorates
  • It could be targeted by vandals, arsonists, squatters and fly-tippers 
  • It can attract vermin
  • The value of neighbouring properties may be reduced by up to 10%.

An empty home back into use reduces the risk of vandalism and squatters, it improves the visual amenity of the neighbourhood and generates income for both the owner and the Council. 

What can you do if you see an empty home?

Please telephone or email us to tell us about empty homes.  We need to know the address of the property, and any information you can provide about ownership.

Financial help to bring an empty home back into use

If you own a property that has been empty for more than six months, and if it needs works to bring it to a Decent Homes Standard, we may be able to help you with a low cost loan to bring the property back into use for onward sale or for rent. Loans are subject to a financial assessment.

See the Icon for pdf Loan fund assistance for empty properties document [159.93KB] from our Private Sector Housing Renewals Policy for more information. 

Charity Empty Homes Schemes

Chapter 1 and G2 Empty Homes offer a Lease and Repair Scheme which provides owners with a no cost solution in order to renovate their property in return for leasing it. The property is renovated free of charge and is then professionally managed and maintained for the duration of the lease. It is then returned to the owner at the end of the lease period in good condition, ready for sale or letting.   Further information for owners and for mortgage lenders can be found in the downloads section, and in Related Pages.

Enforcement action

In some cases enforcement action under the Housing Act 2004 may also be necessary, to resolve a problem long term empty property.