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Open, Derelict and Empty Properties

    Environmental and Health Services has powers to require owners of empty homes or commercial premises to keep them secure and free from rubbish. The Housing Standards Team have powers to bring long term empty homes back into use, where they are causing problems for neighbours. 

    If you know of any vacant or unsecured houses where owners fail to bring them back into occupation, please contact us with the details using our online request form


    The property next door to me is open to access and no one lives there. What can I do?

    You may live next door to a property, which has damaged doors and windows that are allowing entry to children/youths who are causing noise and damage.

    We can serve a legal notice upon the owner of an open building to have the building made secure within 48 hours. If the owner of the building fails to comply with the notice we can carry out the works in default and re-charge the owner. Where it is considered that emergency works are required we will secure the property as soon as is reasonably possible and then re-charge the owner for the cost of works.

    The property next door to me is unoccupied and is causing damp within my home through its roof/chimney. What can I do?

    You may live next door to a property that has been empty for a period of time and has fallen into disrepair, which is causing damage to your home.

    Where we can prove that a problem at your home is being caused by a defect on a neighbouring property there are various legal notices that can be served asking an owner to remedy those defects within a reasonable time period. If a person fails to comply with a notice the Council may then carry out the necessary work and re-charge the owner. An owner can also be prosecuted for failing to comply with a notice.

    I am interested in purchasing an empty property. What can I do?

    You may wish to enquire about the possibility of buying an empty property. The Authority might hold the owner's details, and if so, may be able to pass your details onto that person with your request. The Council cannot give you details of the owners of any properties, because such information is subject to data protection.

    I own an empty property. What are my responsibilities whilst it is empty?

    It is recommended that if the property is left empty that you provide any immediate neighbours with your contact details. Any problems can then be reported to you directly to be acted upon.

    You should visit the property regularly to ensure the following:

    • it is secure
    • any gardens are maintained to a reasonable standard
    • the external appearance of the house is kept in good order, and
    • the property is not in a condition so as to cause defects to neighbouring homes.

    If you fail to keep the property secure, free from rubbish and in a reasonable condition, we will contact you to advise you of your responsibilities.  If you do not fix the problems in a reasonable time we may have powers to serve you a notice to do works.  If you fail to do these works we could prosecute you or do works on your behalf and then seek re-payment.

    I own an empty property. What help can you give me in bringing it back into use?

    If the empty property is a home, our Housing Standards Team may be able to assist you in bringing the home back into use.  Visit our empty homes assistance page to find out more.

    If the empty property is for commercial/business use, then you can contact our Economic Development Team who may be able to help with finding an occupier and inward investment.  To find out more, please make an email enquiry to

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