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Empty Homes

Empty homes

Why are homes left empty?

Homes become empty for a variety of reasons, common situations are because the previous occupant has:

  • passed away
  • moved to a hospital, nursing home or residential care
  • been evicted or had their property repossessed
  • been unable to rent the property due to maintenance or value issues

This area is a part of the country where housing is in short supply, so its important that as many homes as possible are being lived in.  

Are you an owner of an empty property?

An empty property is a wasted home that costs you money. It should be lived in by someone who needs it. It should be an asset to you and the local community.

Your empty property will be costing you additional council tax, utilities standing charges, insurance (if you can get it), damage and deterioration. Now think of the rent you could be earning if someone lived in it.

Your empty home can also have wider financial knock-on effects because it:

  • attracts vandals, vermin, crime and dumping, which you can be charged for.
  • deteriorates faster
  • reduces in value

If your property or land is causing a nuisance to the community, TDC might need to undertake work to resolve the issue. We will then charge you directly, or create a charge against the title of your property - so you get even less return when you sell it on.

Council Tax

Torridge District Council charge the maximum premiums on empty properties allowed by law. For more information, see our guidance on empty and exempt properties.

Tax help

Did you know you can claim tax relief on renovations and alterations on residential properties? Renovations and alterations to homes empty for two years are taxed at just 5% VAT instead of the usual 20%. We can provide a letter to say how long your property has been empty.

Further information on this reduced rate is available from HMRC.

Low cost empty homes loan available for house owners in Torridge

Torridge empty homes loans are provided by Lendology CIC. Talk to them today to find out if you are likely to be eligible for a loan. This won't impact your credit rating and they will talk you through how much you could borrow, the loan best suited to your project and the application process. It might make financial sense to apply for a loan, so that works can be completed sooner, rather than paying long term empty council tax premiums.

To contact Lendology CIC visit the Lendology Empty Property Loan website.

Buy an empty home

We cannot give out a list of empty properties in the district, however, there are various places you can go if you are looking to buy an empty property:

  • Speak to local estate agents around, many have properties on their books that they have not been able to sell and do not widely advertise because they are renovation projects. Find an expert on PropertyMark
  • Land Registry - most homes (although not all) are registered with the Land Registry. For a small fee, you can search this database and download details of home owners when investigating a specific empty property.
  • SAVE (Historic Empty Property Charity) - a national charity which campaigns to bring empty historical homes back into use. The charity often advertises properties in need of a new owner and publishes a list of historical properties at risk around the country.
  • Plot Finder - advertises land for sale across the country

Empty homes are a waste of resource. By bringing them back into use, we could remove the problems associated with empty homes for the good of the wider community and help address housing needs in our communities.

For more information and resources on empty homes, see Action on Empty Homes and the Empty Homes Network

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