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Empty Homes

Last Modified September 17, 2013

Empty homes are a waste of available housing and can often blight a neighbourhood, particularly where they have been left empty for a long period of time.

However, we have powers under the Housing Act 2004 and can bring such properties back into use. If you would like to know more about this call Andy Chittenden in our private sector housing team on 0208 207 2277.

Empty properties can attract pests, rubbish dumping, graffiti, vandalism, squatting, break-ins and arson. As well as the environmental factors, empty properties can cause great concern to neighbouring homes because the value of surrounding properties can deteriorate.

Empty properties represent a wasted resource in the borough and the Government expects us to encourage empty home owners to make every effort to bring these properties back into use.

The cost of an empty home to its owner

Property deterioration and the increased cost of maintenance;

  • Loss of value
  • Insurance
  • Cost of council tax
  • Lost rental income.

What are the choices for an empty homeowner?

  • Refurbishing and renting the property;
  • selling it on the open market

Can the council help?

Yes. We can pay for the cost of refurbishments and can rent out and manage the properties. For more information please contact 020 8207 2277 x 2830 or email housing@hertsmere.gov.uk and ask for information on the PLACE loans refurbishment scheme and the Private Sector Leasing Scheme.

What if the homeowner wants to keep the property empty?

We can take appropriate enforcement action. For example when the property is:

  • harbouring vermin;
  • causing damp etc to adjoining properties;
  • unsecured;
  • a severe eyesore;
  • structurally unsafe.

It is unreasonable for homes to stand empty indefinitely. As a last resort we may make an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) or Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) when owners show no serious intention of restoring empty homes and bringing them back into use.


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