Empty residential properties
Empty residential properties are a target for squatters, vandals
and burglars. They could be used to provide homes for the many
people who need one. Councils will act on reports of empty
properties and may provide grants for renovation and/or rental
schemes to encourage owners to make use of empty
The Problems with empty homes
Empty properties can attract pests, rubbish dumping, graffiti,
vandalism, squatting, break-ins, arson and anti-social behaviour.
This is obviously detrimental to the amenities of an area and can
also reduce the value of neighbouring homes.
An empty property can also cost the owner a significant amount
of money due to the following problems;
- Property deterioration.
- Expensive insurance.
- Council Tax. (The main exemptions are time limited. The Council
has abolished the discount on unfurnished empty homes.)
- Missing out on the potential income from renting or selling
- The owner may be liable for costs incurred by the council in
removing rubbish and preventing unlawful entry.
Bringing empty homes back into use
An owner can bring a property back into use by either living
there themselves, selling it or renting it out.
What Can the Council Do About Empty Homes
Empty Property Grants
The Council may, if funding is available and the property
development suitable, assist landlords with the cost of renovating
an empty property, with the intention of bringing it back into use
as affordable rented housing. The landlord must enter into an
agreement with the Council for 10 years following completion of the
works, that the Council will nominate tenants from the waiting
list. Priority would be given to the renovation of 3-4
bedroom family properties, as there is a shortage of this type of
affordable rented property in the Borough. If the agreement
is broken or the property sold prior to the end of the 10 year
period, the full amount of grant paid will be repayable to the
Please note, however, that Empty Property Grant funds have
already been allocated for the year 2009/10.
Should the owner decide to rent the property out to a private
tenant then the council can give general advice on landlords
obligations and introduce prospective tenants.
Should a owner of an empty property not attempt to bring it back
into use and/or the property is suffering from the following issues
the Council will take appropriate enforcement action:
- Harbouring vermin
- Causing damp etc to adjoining properties
- A severe eyesore
- Structurally unsafe
It is unreasonable for homes to stand empty indefinitely. As a
last resort the Council may make an Empty Dwelling Management Order
or Compulsory Purchase Order, when owners show no serious
intention of restoring empty homes to use.
How much financial assistance is available to landlords under
the Empty Property Grant?
The most that can be granted is £25k per unit, or 75% of the
total renovation costs, whichever is lesser.
How long does the property have to be 'empty' before it becomes
eligible for an Empty Property Grant?
Historically, it was required that the property be empty for a
minimum of two years, which would have to be confirmed by the
enquirer contacting the Local Taxation department at Scarborough
Borough Council. This stipulation has now been lifted.
Can the landlord decide who tenants the property?
One of the conditions of the Empty Property Grant assistance is
that the Council retains 100% tenant nomination rights for the
duration of the grant condition period. Currently, Yorkshire
Coast Homes manages the housing waiting list on behalf of the
Council, and therefore tenant nominations will come from
them. If the Council fails to nominate a tenant after a
certain length of time the landlord may, with permission being
sought from the Council, be permitted to accept their own choice of
General Housing Information and Advice
Yorkshire Coast Homes
The Empty Homes Agency website