How you can report an empty property and what we're doing to address them.


What is an 'empty home'?

There will always be empty residential properties throughout our towns and cities, due to the natural movement in the housing market, however this is usually as a result of short term situations such as buying and selling homes, changes of tenancies in homes, relocation and properties in probate.

When empty properties aren’t addressed to bring them back into use in the short term, and are void in excess of 6 months, they are classified as ‘Long Term Empty Homes’.

Influencing factors that can make a properties empty long term can include:

  • Housing market
  • Cost for disrepair/renovation
  • Inexperience of landlord/owner
  • Repossession
  • Abandonment
  • Property left in probate
  • Families in dispute
  • Sentimental reasons

What issues can be caused by an empty property?

Empty properties can generate issues, not only for the owner, but also for the neighbouring properties/ wider communities and the town and city overall.

Whilst an owner/landlord will experience a financial loss from not having a rental income, they will also have to pay an enhanced council tax premium, subject to the length of time the property is empty.

Impacting the wider community, empty properties can attract antisocial behaviour, vandalism, fly tipping and arson. The longer a property is empty, the greater the chance of it falling into disrepair and for gardens to become overgrown. In addition to the concern of criminal activities near to occupied homes, there is also the risk of property valuations decreasing due to the problems generated and sometimes availability and cost of house and car insurances can be affected in the area.

Overall, empty homes are a wasted resource, as every property could become someone’s home. Housing is in short supply, compared with the number of people in housing need and we at the City of Doncaster Council want to work with owners and landlords to help get their properties back into use and ensure that more affordable housing is available throughout our city.

Concerned about an empty property?

If you wish to report an empty property that is either insecure, has an accumulation of rubbish or is affecting the amenity of the area, then please email the Nuisance Team

What action can the Council take against empty property owners?

The City of Doncaster Council can take action against empty property owners, however this is usually a last resort. We want to help owners and landlords capitalise on their asset and help and advise would usually be the first step we take.

If however, help and advice has not been effective and an empty property owner is not taking reasonable steps to get the property back into use, we have the following legal powers:

  • Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) - An EDMO is a process which allows the Council to take over the management of empty residential properties with a view to agreeing with the owner a plan to bring them back into occupation.
  • Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) - A CPO is a legal tool which may be used to compulsorily acquire land or property in order to support building development, regeneration and infrastructure projects that are in the public interest.
  • Enforced Sale - Enforced sale is a power available to the Council under the Law of Property Act (1925). Through this process we can bring about the sale of empty privately owned properties if the owner has debts owing to us and the debts have been land charged. This serves two purposes; the recovery of public money and to increase the likelihood of development and reoccupation following a sale. The powers available are very similar to those used by banks in repossessions. We will not seek enforced sale unless the debts owed to the Council are greater than £1000. 

Help for owners/landlords bringing properties back into use

Within our Strategic Housing Team, we have two Housing Programme Managers dedicated to working with property owners and landlords, to offer practical help and advice whilst assisting in getting their empty property back into use.

Once the property is back into use, we can help with advice on managing your tenancy, keep you updated on current legislation in relation to the private rented sector and are there to give free advice for matters relating to your property.

Please email the Landlord help and advice team.

  • Landlord newsletter

Register your details with us, so we can keep in touch with newsletters and upcoming events.

  •  Landlord survey

Please take just 5 minutes to complete a survey to tell us about your empty property, to help us help you.




Last updated: 22 May 2024 09:11:27

Did you find this page helpful?