Empty homes

Homes become empty for a number of reasons. A home that is left  empty may cause problems if it is left unattended and not secure. If it becomes very run down it may start to cause repair problems to the house next door and will affect the market value of other homes in the area.

Why do homes become ‘empty’?

Homes become empty for a variety of reasons but the most common are because:

  • the former owner has died
  • the property is left empty whilst undergoing renovations
  • the owner cannot meet the cost of repairs or upkeep of the property

Empty homes are a wasted resource and contribute to urban decline. Solihull Council is committed to supporting the owners of empty homes to bring their properties back into use.

What are the benefits of getting an empty home occupied?

Getting empty homes occupied:

  • provides housing for people amidst a housing shortage (including for newly arrived communities)
  • increases the value of the property and neighbouring properties
  • improves the appearance and security of the neighbourhood
  • reduces the risk of squatters, vandalism, and crime
  • increases trade for local shops and businesses

Council tax for empty homes

How much council tax an empty property owner pays depends on how long the property has been empty. If a property is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for over 2 years an additional empty property premium can be charged.

Certain council tax discounts and exemptions may apply.

What options are there for owners of empty properties?

If you own an empty property, you could:

  • repair/convert the property for occupation
  • live in the property yourself
  • rent out the property yourself
  • lease the property through a letting agent
  • lease the property (Private landlords)
  • sell the property to a private developer or on the open market

What powers does the Council have to act on empty homes?

Enforcement action is only considered as a last resort, when all avenues of assistance to an owner to return their property to use have been exhausted, and there is no reasonable prospect of the property being re-occupied without such action being taken.

Usually, the Council will not start working with owners of empty properties until they have been unoccupied for at least six months, as most properties will become reoccupied during this period without the need for any intervention from the Council. Where properties are empty due to the owner being in hospital or caring for an ill/elderly relative elsewhere it is unlikely the Council will make attempts to contact the owner to discuss brining the property into use.

How can I report an empty home?

If you are concerned about an empty property let us know:

Report an empty property

You can also contact us by calling 0121 704 8100.

We'll need the following information:

  • the address of the property
  • the state of the property
  • how long the property has been empty
  • it would help our investigation if you also know who owns the property

Any information given on the form is treated confidently and not shared.

Can I find out who owns an empty property?

We cannot tell you who owns a property, but this information can be obtained from the Land Registry for a small fee.