Many homes have a genuine reason for being empty.

They may be:

  • On the market
  • Being renovated

But some homes are empty because the owner:

  • Does not know what to do with them
  • Does not have the time, knowledge or money to make them ready for occupation
  • Is content to leave them unoccupied

We want to support these owners to help bring these homes back into use.

Being responsible for an empty property can be expensive.

Owners can be faced with the cost of:

  • Insurance
  • Full Council Tax - rising to 200% if the property has been empty for longer than two years, 300% if it is still empty for longer than five years, and to 400% if it remains empty for longer than ten years
  • Security measures
  • Regular inspections
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Renovation
  • Depreciation

Enforcement action

We have legal powers to deal with empty properties that:

  • Are in a bad state of repair
  • Cause problems for neighbours or the community
  • Have been left empty for a significant amount of time

These powers include:

  • Boarding up
  • Enforced sale
  • Compulsory purchase orders

I have an empty property. What help is available to me?

Sell your property

Contact local estate agents and auction houses.

Rent your property

You can either let your property privately or through a recognised letting agent.

Please visit these pages for more information:

The YMCA lease and repair scheme

We are working with the YMCA to bring long-term empty properties back into use.

The YMCA will pay for any works needed to make the property habitable.

In return they will:

  • Lease the property for 5-10 years
  • Rent it out to a household in housing need
  • Manage the tenancy for you
  • Guarantee you a rental income

If you are interested in this option and would like to find out more, please contact:

Paul Dalton – YMCA
Tel: 01273 222550

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.

To request a Buy with confidence directory  - Tel: 01243-642124

VAT reductions

Properties that have been empty for a certain amount of time can benefit from a VAT discount on any works bringing the home back into use.

We can confirm how long a property has been empty to help the owner get this reduction. For more information - see the HM Revenue website.

I would like to report an empty property

If you are aware of an empty property in the district, please email:

I am interested in buying an empty property

Please note: We cannot release a list of empty properties due to data protection.

For a small fee, you can find current owners details by contacting the Land Registry.

Tel: 0300 006 0411

It is also useful to contact estate agents and auctioneers who may have empty properties on their books. Or to register your interest for properties that will be sold in the future.

Contact us

Housing Enabling Assistant
Melanie Sharp
Tel: 01444 477065

Last updated: 20 October 2023