Empty properties

Report an empty property

We can investigate why a property is empty and offer the owner advice on how to bring it back into use.

If you have an empty property we could help find you tenants who can afford the rent on your home and give you advice on how to manage the property.

  • Report an empty property by e-mail to environment@harborough.gov.uk 
    Please include the address, how long the property has been empty for and any further information you feel is relevant. 

Empty Property Strategy 

It is not uncommon for properties to become empty on a short or medium term due to a number of reasons such as a change in tenancy, structural alterations or probate.  We class ‘long-term empty residential properties’ as properties that have been empty for 6 months or more.

Empty properties:

  • 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
  • Are a loss of potential capital or rental income for the owners
  • Will deteriorate with time requiring higher costs of maintenance and depreciation in value
  • May attract vandalism and squatters
  • May become harder to insure with time
  • Could potentially be vulnerable to being completely destroyed by fire

Our Empty Property Strategy explains how we will address the issue of empty properties in the district.

Support for owners of empty properties

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 property back into use without the need to take enforcement action. We offer:

  • Advice and help on the options available, and guide you through these processes
  • A referral to other Council departments, such as planning
  • Assistance in advertising properties at affordable rents

Enforcement options

Enforcement is where we act to return an empty property 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 property 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

Council Tax

Owners of empty properties may be able to claim 1 month empty property discount subject to certain conditions being met.