Empty homes

Cost of an empty property

Leaving a property empty may seem like an easy option, but owners of empty homes can incur significant costs:

  • There is an empty homes Council Tax premium for homes that are left empty for two or more years.
  • Insurance policies can be void if properties are left unoccupied, and specialist premiums can be high. Insurers may require additional security measures to prevent vandalism and squatting.
  • Maintenance costs can be higher than normal as minor problems are not seen early and addressed. Property values can depreciate significantly if not maintained. If buildings become unsafe, we can take action and recover our costs.
  • Unkempt gardens and buildings are unsightly, detrimental to the local area, and attract antisocial behaviour including arson, vandalism, and fly-tipping. You may have to pay to board-up or re-secure after unauthorised entry, as well as the associated tidying and repair costs;
  • Utility standing charges may still be due.
  • Property fraud is increasingly common in void rental homes. There have been a number of high profile cases where fraudsters have assumed the identity of the landlord and then been able to sell the property and make off with the proceeds.

Problem properties

We want to encourage owners to work with us to bring their property back into use but, if no progress is made, we are prepared to to consider enforcement action, which can include:

  • Formal notices to make a property safe, secure or tidy
  • Empty Dwelling Management orders (EDMO's)
  • Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO's)
  • Enforced Sale

Bringing the property back into use saves you these costs and could provide thousands of pounds each year in rental income or a lump sum through a sale.

We can help you to explore the options and support available, including a range of financial assistance options.

For more information contact our Empty Homes Officer on 0300 126 7000 or Email pshousing.snc@westnorthants.gov.uk