Empty Homes

Long term empty properties can have a negative impact on local communities as well as the owner themselves, for example:

  • Unmaintained and vacant properties can become an eyesore in the community and not only will their value reduce, but also, those of neighbouring properties, potentially reducing the likelihood of property sales and investment in an area.
  • These properties can attract crime and antisocial behaviour such as arson, criminal damage and fly-tipping.
  • A neglected property could deteriorate, becoming a danger to the public and neighbouring occupiers.
  • The owner of the property loses potential revenue which could have been obtained through rent.
  • The owner has to pay the increased cost of insuring a vacant or dilapidated property.
  • The owner has to pay the costs of boarding up the property, rubbish clearance and graffiti removal and deal with the risk of squatters.

If a property has been empty and unfurnished for a period of two years or more a 100 per cent premium will be added on the Council Tax charge, doubling the annual charge for the property until such time as the property becomes tenanted or sold.

Blaby District Council's Empty Homes Strategy is currently under review. 

How do we deal with empty properties?

We would like to see empty homes bought back into use as this can help owners save money, give local residents peace of mind and help tackle the national housing shortage.

Environmental Health are proactive in their role of tackling empty homes.  Every month upon receipt of information from the Council Tax database, the long term empty homes are recorded and prioritised for action.  We actively engage with owners, offering them support where we can and encourage them to bring the property back into use.

We routinely visit an empty property after it has been empty for longer than 6 months.  The purpose of the visit is to confirm the property is still unoccupied and that the property is not impacting in any way to the neighbouring properties.

Where empty homes are particularly troublesome, they are usually reported to Environmental Health by concerned neighbours. This would also involve a visit to the property to carry out a survey to determine the full extent of the issues and help decide on the most appropriate course of action.

I own an empty home - What help can I get?

There are many ways we can assist you including helping you find a tenant if you are considering renting the property. We have a dedicated Housing Options Team within the Council who have expert knowledge of private renting Regulation for both landlords and tenants.

We also have a housing waiting list with over 700 applicants who need a home (many of which are working families). If you choose to be a first time landlord we would provide the support you need to set up a tenancy and help you manage it. To discuss this option in further detail please email housing.options@blaby.gov.uk

If your property needs, or is undergoing structural alterations or major repair work to make it habitable, you may get a 50% discount for up to 12 months.

Find out information on possible discounts or exemptions in relation to council tax on your empty home on our Empty Properties page.

Did you know that if your property has been empty for more than two years, a builder carrying out renovations can charge VAT at 5 per cent instead of the standard 20 per cent? See external link below.

How can I report an empty home?

You can report an empty home using the button below. Or alternatively email environmental.health@blaby.gov.uk

Enforcement action on empty homes

Enforcement action is not something the Council takes lightly.  The Council will endeavour to work with the owner of the empty home to either bring it back into use or ensure works required are completed.

In some instances, owners may need more encouragement to take certain action and we have a range of enforcement actions available to us.

These include:

  • Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 – used for overgrown land that we suspect is providing harbourage or where there is evidence of a pest infestation.
  • Section 215 Town and County Planning Act 1990 – This gives us more power to achieve a long term solution for derelict properties, sites and areas of untidy land which become an eyesore.
  • Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982 – we can act urgently without notice and arrange to make a property secure if it is not already.
  • The Building Act 1984. We can serve a notice to carry out repairs, restore or knock down a property and remove rubbish or where the property is deemed dangerous, take immediate action to remove the danger and recharge.
  • Housing Act 2004 provides powers to serve improvement notices right through to prohibiting a property for habitation.
  • Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 - used to serve Community Protection Warnings and Notices where we can establish a property is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.
  • More serious courses of actions include a compulsory purchase order and an enforced sale.
Last updated 21 February 2024
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