What is an Empty Home?
An empty home is considered a residential property that is unoccupied as a main residence, and where the owner lives elsewhere. A long-term empty home is classed as a property that has been empty for six months or longer.
- Why are the Council concerned about long-term empty residential properties?
- What is the Council doing to address the issue of empty homes in Rushcliffe?
- What support does the Council offer an owner of an empty home?
- Financial and refurbishment support for empty home owners
- What enforcement options does the Council have?
- How can I report an empty home?
- More information
An Empty Home can:
- Present a risk of crime and antisocial behaviour
- Put greater demand on emergency services, such as the Police and Fire and Rescue Service
- Increase the risk of damage to adjoining properties
- Bring a sense of decay and decline to a neighbourhood and may make an area less inviting to tenants, property owners and investors
- Negatively affect the value of surrounding house prices and their ability to sell
- Provide a valuable source of accommodation for a family in need, at a time of housing shortage.
Our Empty Homes Strategy 2019-2024 explains how we aim to tackle the issue of empty homes in the Borough.
Our aim is to assist and encourage owners to bring their empty home back into use, without the need to use any of the enforcement powers available to us.
- advice and help on the options available, and guide you through these processes
- a referral to other Council departments, such as planning or housing standards where necessary
- links with estate and letting agents to help you through the process of letting or selling your property
- discounted fees for sale or auction
- free property appraisals to help you judge the costs of renovation and the property’s current value
- advice on available tax reductions on refurbishments, and office to residential conversions.
Rushcliffe Borough Council has partnered with E.ON home solutions to provide a comprehensive package of financial support, project management and refurbishment assistance to owners of empty homes. Offering a hands-free approach to get your property back into use, this offer is available to anyone who owns a property that has been empty for over six months or more, with a view to selling, occupying or renting the property once the works have been completed. As part of this service, we can:
- Provide a no obligation schedule of works required to get your property back to a habitable state
- Offer interest free loans, or other financial support options
- Use accredited and approved, local tradesmen
- Tailor features and finishes that suit you and your property
- Offer a quick turnaround for occupation, sale or to let
- Reduce the burden of bills, security and time pressures that owning an empty home can bring.
To find out more on the partnership with E.ON Home Solutions, to arrange a free property survey or to discuss whether your property would be suitable for this opportunity, please contact the empty homes officer via email@example.com
Enforcement is where we act to return an empty home to use by using powers given to us through law. The council has powers to tackle properties that are causing environmental nuisance, attracting vermin or are a blight to the amenity of the area.
We use enforcement options only as a last resort, where all possibility of reaching a voluntarily agreed solution with the owner has been exhausted. There are several options available to us, including:
- Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) - this is where we buy a property from an owner, even if they don't give their consent.
- Enforced sale - this allows the sale of an empty property to be forced to recover debts that are owed to us.
- Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) - this is a legal measure that allows us to take over the management of an empty property on a temporary basis, to have it renovated and reoccupied.
- Improvement notices – where the condition of a property is such that it poses an immediate threat to public health, safety, or the integrity of the property, or neighbouring property in question, that immediate action needs to be taken.
If you wish, you don’t need to leave your details when you report an empty property to us.
We have written an Information Sheet for owners of empty properties providing additional guidance.
There are certain exemptions, discounts and additional charges applicable to empty residential properties. For more information please see the Council Tax pages of our website.
Once renovated, you may wish to let your empty property. For helpful advice about being a good landlord and to apply for landlord accreditation, please visit the National Landlords Association for more information.