Information for Empty Property Owners

Being responsible for an empty property can be expensive. You can be faced with the cost of:

  • Insurance
  • Full Council tax (which rises to 150% if the property has been empty for longer than two years)
  • Security measures
  • Regular inspections
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Renovation
  • Depreciation

Empty homes can be a target for anti-social behaviour, including vandalism costing further money for repairs. Often insurance policies are invalid if a property is left empty for a significant period of time. Your properties value will depreciate over time. You are also missing out on the potential income from renting out or selling the property. There is significant housing need in the district and bringing a property back into use will provide a home for someone.

Sell your property

There are numerous estate agents operating in the district or alternatively you could sell your property through auction.

Rent your property out

You can either let your property privately or through a recognised letting agent. Please see our page for Private Landlords for further information. If you are considering renting your property it needs to be of a certain standard, see our Housing Conditions page for more information.

Renting through an agency can take out some of the hassle and stress of becoming a landlord. Of course, you will have to pay for this service which reduces your net income. As an alternative, you could use our free tenant-matching service.  Our clients come from all walks of life, students, professionals, retired or people on benefits, singles, couples and families.  So we are bound to have someone on our books who matches your person and rental requirements.  You decide on the initial tenancy term.  We will organise the funds, the housing benefit claim if applicable and offer you advice on preparing tenancy agreements and inventories, as well as helping you with housing benefit queries during the tenancy.   We can also offer our clients financial and practical support if they need it to start off and continue in the tenancy.

If you think that this might be for you, why not call us on 01444 477574 or visit our webpage www.midsussex.gov.uk/privatelandlords   

YMCA lease and repair scheme

Mid Sussex District Council is working with the YMCA on a scheme to bring long term empty properties back into use. The YMCA would arrange and pay for any works needed to bring the property up to a lettable standard and then lease the property from the owner for 5-10 years and rent it out to a household in housing need. The owner would receive a guaranteed rental income, the YMCA would manage the tenancy.

If you are interested in this option and would like to find out more, please contact Greg Smith from the YMCA:

Email: gregory.smith@sussexcentralymca.org.uk
Telephone: 01273 222558 or 07834 050128.

Renovate your property

Trading standards in West Sussex provide useful advice for those undertaking building works. Their ‘Buy with Confidence’ scheme has a regularly updated list of approved traders. You can request a Buy with Confidence directory by ringing 01243 642124.

VAT reductions

Properties that have been empty for a certain amount of time can benefit from a VAT discount for carrying out works to bring it back into use. We can often provide a letter confirming how long a property has been empty for, to provide evidence for the reduction. For more information see the HM Revenue website

Enforcement action

It is worth being aware that the council has legal powers to deal with empty properties that are in a bad state of repair, cause problems for neighbours or the community or have been left empty for a significant amount of time. These include powers to ensure properties are of an acceptable appearance, boarding up, enforced sale and compulsory purchase orders.

Contact

If you would like to discuss your empty property and how to bring it back into use please contact:

Housing Enabling and Development Officer,
MSDC,
Oaklands,
Haywards Heath,
RH16 1SS
Email: nicola.cresswell@midsussex.gov.uk