Empty homes

Photograph of a white house that has boarded windows and doors and an overgrown garden

'Empty Homes' or 'long-term empty properties' are homes that have been vacant for six months or longer.

As of June 2015, there were approximately 760 long-term privately owned empty homes in the Tendring District (excluding second homes) and at the same time the number of households waiting on the housing register was over 1,000. Whilst bringing these empty homes back into use will not solve the housing shortage completely, it could help to reduce the gap. The cost to bring an existing empty property back into use in most instances is far less than building new properties.

Empty homes can also attract crime, arson, vandalism and anti social behaviour and have a negative impact on an area.

We work with owners of empty homes to try and get these properties back into use and in 2015 an updated Empty Homes Strategy was approved by Cabinet.

If you own a property which has been vacant for a minimum of six months, we may be able to assist by offering:

  • Advice on how to bring your property up to a decent homes standard (if necessary)
  • Advice on options regarding letting your property out.
  • Advice on selling your property and a list of local estate agents.
  • An introduction to other landlords/buyers who may be willing to purchase your property
  • An official letter from us which can help you claim a reduced rate of 5% VAT on various works associated with renovating your property (it must have been empty for 2 years to qualify for this and VAT is at 0% if empty longer than 10 years).

We also have the power to take over the management of empty homes where other measures have failed. Please see our "Enforcement powers available to Local Authorities" for further information.

If you are concerned about a property in your local community which is currently vacant, please contact out Empty Homes Officer:

Frequently Asked Questions


Last updated on: 28/09/2017 - 14:32