Empty homes

Empty homes are a national problem. They encourage vandalism, social issues and degradation, as well as providing an eyesore for surrounding residents and communities. At Peterborough City Council, we are committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the city, and tackling the issues associated with long-term empty homes.

For further information or advice on empty homes, please contact us on 01733 864127 or email emptyhomes@peterborough.gov.uk.

Report an empty home

To report an empty home, please use our online form.

Empty homes service

Homes that lay empty for long periods are a waste of a scarce resource, record demands for housing and growing social housing waiting lists mean that more use has to be made of the existing housing stock. We aim to utilise the existing housing stock, whilst reducing the impact of empty homes on neighbouring residents, and highlighting the benefits of reuse to the vacant property owners.

How we can help

Our Empty Homes Service offers Peterborough homeowners information, advice and support to bring their empty properties back into use. If you own an empty home, we can:

  • give you a free property assessment
  • informally discuss with you the various options and the best way to proceed
  • advise and help you with applications, approvals, lettings and sale processes
  • offer financial assistance for the refurbishment of a property, when used in conjunction with the Empty Homes Partnership.

If you are thinking of buying an empty home, or have recently bought or inherited one, we can provide support, assistance and contacts in the refurbishment and future use of the property.

Impacts of empty homes

Run-down, derelict and abandoned properties bring down the appearance of a neighbourhood, and give a sense of decay and decline which can:

  • act as a magnet for crime and anti social behaviour, including squatting, vandalism and arson - overgrown gardens can further hide this type of activity
  • increase the risk of structural damage and can affect neighbouring properties
  • deter businesses and investors from relocating to the area and families can be reluctant to move to the are, which may lead to a 'spiral of decline'
  • lead to community degradation, effecting property values and reducing selling prices.

Benefits of reuse

The reusing of empty and derelict properties can:

  • greatly improve an area's appearance, boosts people's confidence in their neighbourhood and encourages betterment
  • reduce the health hazards associated with these issues, as well as improving the visual appearance of the homes and gardens
  • reduce the opportunity and scope for crime on both property and person
  • attract inward investment and helps makes the area an attractive place in which to live and work
  • reduce the need to build new homes on green field sites.

Owners that leave properties empty

The Empty Homes Partnership has several options:

  • serve a Compulsory Purchase Order on the property
  • serve improvement notices, to make the owner bring their property up to the current housing standards
  • apply for an Empty Dwelling Management Order - which enables the council to take over the management of the property for up to 7 years, carry out remedial works and use the property to reduce the housing need within the city
  • enforced the sale of a property
  • carry out a Demolition Order, where the condition of a property goes beyond a returnable state of repair.

Enforcement measures are only used as a last resort where it has been impossible to trace the owner, agree a voluntary solution with them, or where a home has simply been abandoned. But in cases of extreme dereliction, urban blight, or structural instability, we must act to protect the health and safety of Peterborough residents. Details of this, along with information on how we intend to tackle the problem of empty homes, can be found in the attached strategy.

Empty homes strategy

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