Empty Homes

There are many reasons why a home may be empty but bringing properties back into use can have benefits to the owner and improve the whole community, especially when housing is in such short supply.

It is estimated the cost of leaving a home empty can be as high as over £13,000 a year after taking into account lost rent, taxes, insurance and deterioration of the property value.

If a property has been lying empty and unfurnished for over two years, a 100% premium may be charged (over the amount of the standard Council Tax bill)? This increases to 150% for properties empty and unfurnished for 5-10 years and 300% for 10 years or more.

Empty homes can be easy targets for crime, vandalism, squatters and general anti-social behaviour.

Reporting an empty home

Whether it is your own home or you are aware of an empty property which could be brought back into use, you can report it or ask us for advice by emailing housing@molevalley.gov.uk

Bringing an empty home back into use

Available options include

  • Advice and assistance from us
  • Let the property direct to a tenant
  • Let the property through the Council’s Rent Deposit Bond scheme
  • Let the property through a private letting agent
  • Repair/convert the property for occupation
  • Sell the property at auction
  • Sell the property on the open market

Rent deposit bond scheme

The scheme offers:

  • Help in finding a suitable tenant
  • Guarantee a deposit (called a bond) to cover damage to the property and any rent arrears
  • Ensure ongoing tenant and landlord support is provided
  • A full inventory service

We can offer free advice and information, including on tenancies and housing issues, contact us by email housing@molevalley.gov.uk

Enforcement action

We will always try to work with the owners of an empty property and offer options, advice and assistance wherever possible.

If all other options have been exhausted, we will consider the legal powers available to bring an empty home back into use. This may include:

  • Empty Dwelling Management Order – where we serve a notice to repair the property and recovers the cost by renting the property for a specified period. After that period, the property is returned for use by the owner.
  • Compulsory Purchase Order – We acquire the property to sell it on the open market so that it can be occupied
  • Enforced Sale – we can register some debts relating to an empty property as a Local Land Charge. If the debts are not repaid the courts can allow us to sell the property to recover those debts