Empty properties are a wasted resource both for the community and the owner - they reduce the supply of housing and represent a loss of income for the owner.
They are often an eyesore that can blight an area, can attract antisocial behaviour, cause concern to neighbours and the local community and affect the value of surrounding properties.
Bringing empty properties back into use is a priority for us as it helps to alleviate some of these issues as well as increasing the supply of housing.
Report an empty property
Tell us if you know of any empty properties in your area. It might be empty if the windows have been broken for a long time, post has not been collected, windows and doors have been boarded up and the rooms are always in darkness.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 7926 4444.
We will investigate and contact the owner to try to bring the property back into use. Where appropriate, enforcement powers may be used.
Please provide as much information as possible about the property, including a full address. This information will help identify what action is needed.
Problems caused by empty properties
We mainly get complaints about:
- overgrown gardens
- squatting, arson attacks, drug use
- vandalism and graffiti
- negative affects on sales of neighbouring properties
- eyesores in the street.
Where we can't find the owner or they refuse to cooperate, we may:
- serve notices with regards to pest, rubbish tipping and works in default
- enforce a sale
- issue a compulsory purchase order.
We are frequently asked for lists of all empty properties within the borough.
We do not hold a list of all empty properties, however we do hold information about those properties which we have been advised are empty in relation to Business Rates or Council Tax.
Exemption under The Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 31 – Law Enforcement
We are unable to provide names of businesses or addresses of empty commercial and residential properties as we consider disclosing this information would make them a target of crime. Therefore this information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Pursuant to section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act), public authorities are not obliged to release information that would be likely to prejudice the functions of law enforcement- namely the prevention and detection of crime.
We have previously made enquiries to the Metropolitan Police which indicate the release of this type of information where buildings are situated, would increase the potential for:
- buildings to be targeted by squatters
- buildings to be targeted by criminals or terrorists intent on hiding or depositing proceeds of crime of terrorist materials
- premises to be identified as short-term hiding places by criminals or terrorists
- premises to be targeted by vandals or street artists.