We are keen to help owners of empty homes bring these properties back into use.
Who benefits from empty homes being brought back into use?
The simple answer to this is everyone, because:
- the general environment of an area is improved
- using existing empty homes to house people helps meet the housing needs of the area
- vandalism and antisocial behaviour are often associated with empty properties. Filling these properties has a positive effect in reducing such problems
- the need for additional housing, particularly in the rented sector, has been clearly identified by the number of people on the Council's Housing Register
- returning properties to the housing stock is a positive step towards tackling homelessness
- using existing properties to create homes can reduce the need to build housing on greenfield sites
- some of the empty properties are unfit or in a state of disrepair. Renovating such properties contributes to the raising of housing standards.
The owners of the empty homes benefit too
- obtain financial assistance in certain circumstances
- generate extra income through rent or sale
- prevent the deterioration of their property
- get a local housing association to manage the property for them (in certain circumstances)
- have the satisfaction of knowing that their property is being used to help their local community rather than a wasted resource.
What should I do if I own an empty property?
We offer a free service that can bring your empty home back into use.
Find out more about the Tenant finder scheme.
Owners of properties which have been empty for more than two years may be eligible for a reduced rate of VAT on the cost of refurbishments by builders. Visit HM Revenue & Customs for details.
Empty properties and Council Tax
Further information on Council Tax charges for empty properties.
How can I trace the owner of an empty property
Land Registry search
You can contact the Land Registry to try and find current owners of a property.
A land registry search can be carried out on the property, which may reveal the name of the legal owner, although some properties are not registered and there is a chance that they may be out of date. There is a £3 charge for the service.
You could post a note on the door of the empty property stating that you would like to contact the owner. Talk to neighbours and contact the area Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator and any other neighbourhood community groups as well as local shopkeepers – they may well know something about the owner. This method costs nothing and could yield valuable information about an empty property.