Empty properties are a wasted resource for both the owner of the property and those who are in need of housing.

At any given time, around four per cent of Devon’s housing stock is classed as long-term empty, that is, empty for over six months (this does not include properties up for sale).

An empty home is a wasted asset from the point of view of:

  • the owner who could receive income from selling or letting it
  • people in need of housing
  • local residents who have to put up with any problems that it creates

The government and local councils believe:

  • it is vital to minimise the number of empty homes to ease pressure on the housing stock and reduce the necessity to develop on green field land
  • reducing the number of empty homes reduces opportunities for petty crime, vandalism, arson and anti-social behaviour

The need to reduce the number of empty homes has been widely recognised in recent years. The government has introduced or is in the process of introducing a series of measures aimed at encouraging the re-use of empty homes. These include:

  • incentives through lower rates of VAT
  • penalties through higher rates of Council Tax
  • encouraging the development of existing land and buildings rather than green field  land
  • comprehensive guidance for councils and property owners on unlocking the potential of empty properties
  • the introduction of Empty Dwelling Management Orders power as new power available to local councils

We may be able to offer loan assistance to encourage empty home owners to bring their properties back into use and bring them up to a decent standard so they can be rented out.

If you own a property that you have kept empty and would like advice and/or help to get it back into use, or you are concerned about a house/flat that has been empty for a long period of time, please contact us by either email or phone 01395 571572.

Report an empty home

If there is a property that you are aware of or is neighbouring you property that has been left empty for six months or more please contact us by using our report an empty home form or either email or phone 01395 571572. Please provide the full address of the property and a photo if possible.

The property may be causing problems within your neighbourhood or to your property directly. These problems could include structural stability or vermin. 

You will receive an email to acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 5 working days. Our empty homes officer will then investigate your report, contact the owner and work with them to get the property back in to use.