Empty homes


Why is the Council concerned about long-term empty residential properties?

We class ‘long-term empty residential properties’ as properties that have been empty for six months or more.

Empty homes:

  • are more at risk of crime and antisocial behaviour and put greater demand on emergency services, such as the Police and Fire and Rescue Service
  • put adjoining properties at risk of damage
  • can bring a sense of decay and decline to a neighbourhood and may make an area less inviting to tenants, property owners and investors
  • are a waste of accommodation at a time of high housing demand.

What is the Council doing to address the empty homes issue in Derby?

Our Private Sector Empty Homes Strategy 2015-2020 explains how we will address the issue of empty homes in the city.

We work with owners of empty properties to see them brought back into use. Our aim is to help and persuade owners to bring their empty home back into use without the need to take enforcement action.

What support does the Council offer an owner of an empty home?

We offer:

  • advice and help on the options available, and guide you through these processes
  • a referral to other Council departments, such as planning or housing standards if necessary
  • links with the Housing Options Centre and its Derby Homefinder scheme to help you find a tenant
  • discounted fees for sale or auction
  • free property appraisals to help you judge the costs of renovation and the property’s current value
  • a loan to help with repair costs - this is called ‘Empty Homes Assistance’.

What is Empty Homes Assistance?

This is an interest free loan available to help new or existing owners of empty homes to pay for the cost of refurbishment.

Empty Homes Assistance loans are no longer limited to a maximum of £10,000 for each property. Loan amounts are dependent on the equity in the property and the extent of the required renovations.

Repayments typically start six months after the money is given and the interest rate stays at 0%, subject to terms and conditions. Repayments are made by monthly direct debit over three to five years, depending on the amount borrowed. 

Empty Homes Assistance requires a charge, equal to the loan amount, to be placed on the property, in much the same way as a mortgage. Failing to comply with the conditions of the loan can make extra charges payable.

Contact us for more information on the current availability of this loan, and further details of terms and conditions.

What enforcement options does the Council have?

Enforcement is where we act to return an empty home to use by using powers given to us through law. We use enforcement options only as a last resort, where all possibility of reaching a voluntary agreement with the owner of an empty home has been exhausted. There are several options available to us, including:

  • Compulsory purchase - this is where we buy a property from an owner, even if they don't give their consent.
  • Enforced sale - this allows the sale of an empty property to be forced to recover debts that are owed to us
  • Empty Dwelling Management Order - this is a legal measure that allows us to take over an empty property on a temporary basis to have it renovated and reoccupied.

How can I report an empty home?

Contact us. We will treat your personal information in confidence and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998

If you wish, you don’t need to leave your details when you report an empty property to us.

Housing Intelligence for East Midlands (hi4em) logoResearch and intelligence

Housing Intelligence for the East Midlands

'Housing Intelligence for the East Midlands' (Hi4em) supports councils working to improve housing conditions and energy efficiency. It focuses especially on the conditions for vulnerable households who own their own homes or rent from a private landlord.

It gives support by sourcing, displaying and mapping a wide range of data relating to housing markets and private sector housing conditions.

Working with many organisations across the East Midlands, Hi4EM is funded by subscriptions and service charges.

More information

For more information about hi4em and the services it provides, visit the Hi4em website

Useful forms

Contact details

Post address:
Empty Homes Service
Strategic Housing
Derby City Council
The Council House
Derby DE1 2FS
Phone: 01332 640326 / 01332 640325
Minicom: 01332 256666

Empty Homes Service
Strategic Housing
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street