Empty properties in the Harrogate area

When properties lie empty, they can cause problems. Find out how to deal with them, how to report one and what we are doing to help owners.

In the Harrogate area there are a significant number of empty homes. This is despite a buoyant housing market and pressure for new homes which are affordable for people who need them.

Empty homes are a wasted resource in terms of providing housing. They can also have a negative impact on their surrounding communities. They can lead to increased fly-tipping, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour. They may encourage squatting and have a negative impact on neighbouring property values or be a financial burden for many owners.

What we can do

We want to bring as many empty properties as possible back into use.

We have people on hand to provide advice for owners of empty homes so their property can be occupied once again.

Some empty or derelict homes can be brought back into use simply by giving advice and information about the benefits of occupancy to the owner.

In rare cases, the only option is to pursue an enforcement method to ensure essential repairs are carried out on a property or action is taken against unwanted nuisance.

Where there has been a long history of non-cooperation it can lead to the compulsory purchase of the property.

If you would like to report an empty property to us, complete our online form.

Report an empty property

The empty homes loan

The empty homes loan scheme allows you to carry out essential work to repair or improve your empty home without making regular repayments.

It is for anyone who owns a property that has been empty for more than six months and wants to carry out repairs or improvement works to bring the property back into use, either through sale or tenants. Priority is given to properties that have been empty for two years or longer.

The benefits include the following:

  • it allows you to get essential works on your empty home
  • you have five years to repay your loan
  • you do not need to worry about falling behind with payments
  • this is a council backed scheme and we will support you through the process

The loan is for:

  • essential repairs and improvements to your empty home, for example, fixing faulty electrical wiring or a leaking roof
  • work to bring your home up to a standard so that it can be occupied again

We can also help you decide what work is needed, what help you can get and what can be covered by the loan. We will help you all the way through the application process by:

  • helping you to fill in your application
  • keeping in touch and answering your questions
  • making sure the loan is fully paid out and the work to your home is done properly

The amount you borrow (up to £15,000) is converted in to a percentage of the current market value of your house. After the loan has been agreed, your contractor can start work. When the work has been completed to our satisfaction, we will pay the contractor directly.

When you sell or no longer own the house, if your property has increased in value, we use the percentage to work out how much you should repay based on the value of your home at that time. If your property has fallen in value, then we would ask you to repay the original amount that you borrowed. 

For example, if the work cost £10,000 and the value of the property increases from £100,000 to £120,000 or ten per cent, over the loan period, the amount to be repaid would be £12,000 - ten per cent of the new value.

If the loan is not repaid by the end of the five years, we reserve the right to undertake an enforced sale of the property to recoup the amount owed.

Find out more

To find out more, please contact us.

Measures we can take

Compulsory purchase orders

A compulsory purchase order is the final solution to an empty property problem as it removes ownership from the current owner. Once the order is approved, we would arrange the sale of the property, either to a housing association partner, to develop as affordable housing or on the open market subject to covenants ensuring the refurbishment and reoccupation of the property.

Enforced sales and empty dwelling management orders

Introduced as part of the Housing Act 2004, these orders involve the local authority taking over management of a property, carrying out works if applicable and then renting the property out. Management costs and any refurbishment costs can be reclaimed from the rental income - with any balance going to the owner.

Buying empty homes

While we are unable to provide a list of empty properties in the area, if you are aware of an empty property that you are interested in buying, you will need to try to contact the owner to see if they are willing to sell. You can do this in several ways, including:

  • delivering a letter addressed to the owner of the empty property
  • talking to neighbours of the empty property to find out if they know any additional information
  • contacting the Land Registry for the name and address of the registered owner - there will be a small charge for this service
  • using telephone directories, the electoral register, family history searches and so on to obtain the owner's information - there may be a charge for some of these services

You can also contact our empty homes officer. We may hold information on the owner but for data protection reasons we are unable to disclose it. However, where we hold contact details for the owner we can forward a letter to them on your behalf for them to contact you if they are interested in selling the property.

If you are interested in registering your details to receive information on empty properties for sale, contact us

You can complete a form to give us an update on an empty property if the property is being monitored by our empty property officer.

Empty homes - request for information

Update us on an empty property.

Empty property report form