Empty Homes Policy

Informal intervention/support to bring properties back into use

8.1 Empty property owners are not always aware of the support the Council can offer them, or the environmental and financial consequences of leaving their properties empty. The Council has a duty to provide information, guidance and general support to owners of empty properties. Through this support, many empty properties can be returned to use. Options include, for example:

• Refurbishing and re-occupying the property

• Letting the property themselves as landlord or through a letting/management agent

• Selling the property through an estate agent or via auction

• Selling the property to an investor

• Leasing the property to a private individual, property developer or registered provider

8.2 The Council is committed to preventing properties from becoming empty for prolonged periods where they can. Under the Levelling Up & Regeneration Act, local authorities now have the power to charge a premium after one year as opposed to two years previously, effective from April 2025. If an empty property is brought to our attention, we will contact the owner to ascertain their intentions and offer advice and guidance to bring the home back into use. Our Housing options team will work with any owners who want to / or can be persuaded to rent out their property by providing it to a tenant that is in housing need. We organise landlord events and forums publicising a range of incentives and disincentives of empty homes and the public can report problematic empty properties in their neighbourhoods to us. 

8.3 Supporting owners to sell or let their empty properties is a key component in the reduction of empty properties across the borough. However, this has a cost implication, and the council does not have the means to offer empty property grants and/or loans to residents to encourage restoration.

8.4 Council Departments involved in preventing and tackling long term empty homes include:

• Private Sector Housing 

• Housing Options

• Housing Needs 

• Planning Enforcement and Planning Conservation 

• Environmental Health 

• Building Control 

• Council Tax

• Community Safety

• Housing Development 

8.5 Other officers may be needed as cases develop. These may include:

• Legal Services

• Property Services