Empty Homes Strategy
We class ‘long-term empty residential properties’ as properties that have been empty for six months or more.
- 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 Empty Homes Strategy 2021-26 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?
- 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.
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. The Council has powers to tackle properties that are causing environmental nuisance, attract vermin or are a blight to the amenity of the area.
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?
If you contact us we will treat your personal information in confidence and in accordance with our privacy notice.
If you wish, you don’t need to leave your details when you report an empty property to us.
Lease your empty property
You can lease an empty property to a housing association for five years. You will benefit from a guaranteed monthly income for five years without needing to worry about void periods, tenancy management, rent arrears and more. Further information can be found here: Information for landlords.
There are certain exemptions, discounts and additional charges applicable to empty properties. For more information please see the Council Tax - exemption page.
Once renovated, you may wish to let your empty property. For helpful advice about being a good landlord and to apply for landlord accreditation, please visit the Dash Services website for more information.