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Cambridge City Council

Empty homes

Making the best use of existing homes in Cambridge is one of the key objectives in our Housing Strategy.

There is a shortage of residential accommodation available in the city. Demand for housing outstrips supply significantly – in particular demand for family accommodation available at reasonable rent.

With housing and land in short supply in Cambridge it is necessary to ensure that empty homes do not remain empty unnecessarily and fall into misuse and dereliction. You can report an empty home to us by using the link below, you don't have to leave any personal details unless you want to.

Report an empty home

We can offer support and assistance to empty home owners to help them bring their property back in to use, or we can use enforcement action to bring the properties in to use.

We are reviewing our Empty Homes Policy and will publish the new version here when it is ready.

How we can help owners to occupy an empty home

We can offer a range of services to give the best support and advice possible to empty homes owners and neighbours, we can:

  • Offer informal advice and assistance.
  • Offer to refer to Town Hall Lettings the councils not for profit letting agent
  • Offer in some circumstances to find suitable companies to do works for owners.
  • Offer to buy empty homes from the owners

In some circumstances the Council may consider to use enforcement action these could be:

  • Deal with dangerous, derelict, and ruinous buildings through enforcement notices.
  • Serve improvement notices in order to remove hazards.
  • Take over the management of the property by using an empty dwelling management order or EDMO
  • Undertake Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) when it is in the public interest, as a last resort

The impact an empty home has

Each empty home denies a household somewhere to live and returning an empty home to use has social, environmental and financial benefits. If left empty properties can:

  • Fall into disrepair, or become ruinous or dilapidated.
  • Attract vandalism, antisocial behaviour and crime.
  • Cause damage to adjacent properties, and possibly health issues for neighbours through lack of maintenance.
  • Pose a threat to safety, particularly to young children.
  • Reduce the value of the surrounding area as well as themselves.

Again this list is not exhaustive, empty homes can create a great deal of problems not only for the owners but for those situated in the surrounding areas.

Benefits of bringing an empty home back into use

Bringing an empty home back into use has a number of benefits, these include:

  • Generating potential income for the owner, and increasing property value.
  • Providing accommodation for others to use.
  • Contributing to the regeneration of an area, increasing spending in the local economy, and helping to protect the value of the surrounding area.
  • Reducing the risk of crime and vandalism for the property, and the local area.
  • In some instances work to return an empty home to use may attract a reduction in VAT.

Why properties become or remain empty

In most cases this is because the owners need assistance, support, information, or encouragement to help return empty homes to use. Although there are numerous other reasons that properties remain empty including:

  • Financial implications
  • Requires renovation or building work
  • Reluctance to let or sell
  • Health issues
  • Probate, estate or legal ownership issues
  • Lack of awareness of support options

This list is not exhaustive, and the reasons can vary in severity. It is important, therefore, that we are able to give the appropriate level of support to those who need it.

For questions about a service we provide, please use our contact us form