Empty Homes

Information for property owners and residents about empty homes and the benefits of bringing them back into use

Homes that lay empty for a long time are a waste of a scarce resource. With record demands for housing and growing social housing waiting lists, more use must be made of the existing housing stock. Evidence shows that when empty homes are left unmanaged and unmaintained they become subject to vandalism, social issues and degradation. This also negatively impacts on residents and communities. 

We have employed a dedicated empty homes officer to help bring long term properties back into use. To do this they will work closely with landlords, their representatives and local community. Their aim is to utilise existing housing stock, whilst reducing the impact of empty homes on neighbouring residents and highlighting the benefits of reuse to the vacant property owners. 

If you own an empty property and want some advice, please contact Lorraine Moore on 07729638832 or email lmoore@fenland.gov.uk. 

    If you have received a letter from us

    To support the Government's initiative to tackle the national housing shortfall, we are currently contacting all owners of empty properties.

    If the status of your property has changed, please contact Lorraine Moore on 07729638832 or at lmoore@fenland.gov.uk. 

    Report an empty property

    Please tell us if you are being affected by an empty property in your area. This will allow our Empty Homes officer to look into the situation. 

    Help for Fenland homeowners

    Our Empty Homes service offers Fenland homeowners information, advice and support to bring their empty properties back into use. If you own an empty home, we can:

    • give you a free property assessment
    • informally discuss your options
    • help you with applications, approvals, lettings and sale processes

    You also have the option to:

    • take your property to a private rental agency. The National Landlords Association provides useful advice on finding and using a letting agent
    • refurbish your property. Sometimes there are tax breaks available for refurbishing empty properties. You may also be able to reduce or recover VAT. More information can be found on the HMRC website

    If you are thinking of buying an empty home, or have recently bought or inherited one, we can provide support, assistance and contacts in the refurbishment and future use of the property.

    Please note: The empty status of a property moves with the property. If you purchase a property or inherit one and do not move in straight away and the property has been empty for two or more years you will be liable for an increase in your Council Tax payments. See the information below for more details.

    Council Tax charges for empty properties

    We have amended Council Tax discounts to certain types of properties. This is in accordance with Section 11 (as amended) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

    From April 2013:

    • Holiday homes - 0% discount
    • Second homes - 0% discount
    • (i) Unoccupied and unfurnished properties - 0% discount
    • (ii) Properties requiring or undergoing major structural work - 0% discount

    For classes of property (i) and (ii) above:

    • From 1 April 2019, an additional premium of 100% Council Tax will be charged from a date two years after the property first became empty
    • From 1 April 2020, an additional premium of 200% Council Tax will be charged from a date five years after the property first became empty
    • From 1 April 2021, an additional premium of 300% Council Tax will be charged from a date ten years after the property first became empty

    For more information, please email counciltax@angliarevenues.gov.uk or call 01354 654321. 

    Benefits of reusing empty properties

    Reusing empty and derelict properties can:

    • greatly improve an area's appearance - boosting people's pride and confidence where they live
    • provide a warm, safe haven for a local family
    • reduce the health hazards relating to empty homes
    • reduce the opportunity for crimes against the property and person
    • attract inward investment, helping the area to be an attractive place to live and work
    • reduce the need to build new homes on green field sites

    Owners who leave properties empty

    Enforcement measures are used as a last resort. This may be when:

    • a home has been abandoned; or
    • the owner can't be traced; or
    • we can't agree a voluntary solution with the owner

    In cases of extreme dereliction, urban blight or structural instability, we must act to protect the health and safety of our residents. We are able to:

    • serve a Compulsory Purchase Order on the property
    • serve Improvement Notices. This is to make the owner bring their property up to the current housing standards
    • apply for an Empty Dwelling Management Order. This enables us to take over the management of the property for up to 7 years, carry out remedial works and use the property to reduce housing need within the area
    • enforce the sale of a property
    • serve a Demolition Order. This is when the property deems repair to be disproportionate

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