Tell us about an empty property

Page updated on: 05/09/2023

To tackle social issues, and as part of meeting housing demand within the county, we are looking to work with empty property owners to bring these properties back into use. Empty properties could provide homes to people who need them.

We are concerned about empty properties in general, because they may:

  • Attract anti-social activity, including crime, vandalism and arson, resulting in an increased fear of crime for neighbours
  • Blight the surroundings and create environmental problems
  • Decrease adjacent property values
  • Discourage further investment in the area, leading to neighbourhood decline
  • Cost the owner significant money (council tax, loss of rental income and deterioration of the property).  It is estimated that the overall cost to the owner can be as much as £9,000 - £11,000 a year.

We do have enforcement powers that we may use if the empty property is causing significant risk or concern. We always do our best to negotiate with owners to bring about improvements to empty properties, as we believe the best solution is to return these wasted and much needed homes back in to use.

However, in the event that our negotiations fail, we may consider enforcement action. This action will vary depending on specific circumstances and the condition of the property. Possible action we could take could include:

If your empty property is in poor condition and in need of repair we may consider the following enforcement action;

  • Improvement Notice – We can ask you to carry out improvement works on a property to tackle defects and hazards.
  • Emergency Remedial Action – To address an imminent risk of serious harm to the health or safety of any of the occupiers of those or any other residential premises. 
  • Dangerous or dilapidated buildings – When a building or structure is in such a condition, as to be dangerous.
  • Dangerous building (Emergency Works) – Dangerous building and immediate action is necessary.
  • Statutory Nuisance – To tackle any premises in such a state, as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance. 

If a building or area is in an untidy or poor condition, this could cause a negative impact on the neighbours or the appearance of the surrounding area.  We do have legal powers to control the tidiness and appearance of buildings and surrounding areas of land but we will always look to work with the property or land owner to resolve the situation.

If we are unable to reach a resolution we may take enforcement action through one of the following;

  • enforce the clean-up of land or buildings, which have a detrimental effect on an area.
  • tackle a building or structure, is by reason of its ruinous or dilapidated condition, seriously detrimental to the amenities of a neighbourhood.
  • remove rats or mice or to keep the building or land free of rats or mice.
  • tackle buildings in area unoccupied or occupier temporarily absent and not secured against unauthorised entry or likely to become a danger to public health.


If we need to take over the ownership of a building, we have the legal powers to do this through;

  • Empty Dwelling Management Orders – we can take over management responsibility of the property, to improve, let and recovers any costs. 
  • Compulsory Purchase – The provision to acquire houses for the improvement of housing and the acquisition of land that will facilitate the carrying out of development, redevelopment or improvement of the property. 
  • Enforced Sales Procedure – This is not a way to deal with problem properties as such, but a procedure to deal with recovery of outstanding debt following actions that have created a financial charge against a property. 


If you would like to discuss an empty property, you can contact us on 01554 899389.

Tell us about an empty property