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 0207 926 2044.
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.
Changes due to coronavirus
Please note that during the current coronavirus pandemic we are operating a reduced service and will only be visiting properties where there is an imminent risk to health or safety, i.e. where the risk posed by the issues is greater than the potential for spreading coronavirus.
- Sewage in someone’s home
- Structural collapse
- Falling building elements, e.g. glass, failing walls, etc.
- Pests that can spread disease
- Imminent risk of fire
- Carbon Monoxide leaks
In all other cases officers will try and assist you using phone and email. Officers may also need to be redeployed to help deal with the response to Covid-19. This means it will take longer to deal with your request than usual. Thank you for your patience.
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.
Rent your empty property with Lambeth lettings
Lambeth lettings is a free service available to developers and owners who are bringing empty property back into residential use.
Lambeth Lettings will introduce you to a good and verified tenant, and provide an excellent free of charge service which will reduce your voids and maximise your rental income.
Lambeth Lettings offers different packages that suits your business needs, including non-returnable cash incentive and landlord’s insurance. Lambeth Lettings can also lease properties from you and pay you a guaranteed rent each month.
For further information please visit find tenants for your property with Lambeth Lettings
Empty property vat reductions
Your VAT costs can be reduced when refurbishing your empty property or converting a vacant commercial space for residential use.
You might qualify for a reduction of VAT to 5% if the property has been empty for minimum of more than two years before you start renovation work, and the property will be used for residential purposes after completion of the works, and you will be using builders to complete this work.
You might qualify for zero rated VAT for the property that has been empty for more than 10 years before you start renovation work, and property will be used as a residential home for you or your family.
Further information can be found at VAT for builders
Please contact Lambeth Empty Property Officer in order to obtain a necessary letter as evidence that a property has been empty for the relevant qualifying period, on 0207 926 2044 or email at email@example.com
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.