Empty Homes

  1. Bringing empty homes back into use
  2. Advice and guidance for empty property owners
  3. Options for bringing your empty property back into use (You are here)

Options for bringing your empty property back into use

Refurbishment and VAT savings

In some cases an empty property will need repair and refurbishment work before being ready to live in.

To support property owners with the renovation of empty properties the Inland Revenue offer reduced VAT rates for properties that have been empty for two years or more, potentially saving up to 20% of the properties renovation costs, for example:

Property A – Empty for two years with a refurbishment cost of £15,000.

This property would qualify for the lower VAT rate of 5%; saving £2,225.

Property B – Empty for 10 years with a refurbishment cost of £15,000.

This property would qualify for 0% VAT; saving £3,000.

To qualify for this support, property owners would need to prove to the Inland Revenue how long the property has been empty; if you need help with this please contact the Private Sector Housing Officer

There are other instances in which VAT exemptions apply, such as renovating listed properties, so it is worth looking on the HMRC website to find out more.

Letting your property

Properties can be let privately or through a recognised letting agent.

The benefits of using a good accredited agent, albeit at a cost, is that they will manage the property for you as well as making sure that you meet all your legal responsibilities as a landlord.

Before signing with any letting agent please check that they are a member of both an appropriate body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or a similar body and they belong to an approved redress scheme; both of which are there to protect you and your tenants.

Find out about the redress scheme

The following example shows the costs benefits of bringing and empty property back into use and letting it out

Bringing an empty property back into use could result in a net gain of around £7,309 per year to the property owner.

Whereas leaving a property empty could result in a net loss of -£2,037, as shown in the following table.

Empty Property

Estimated cost per Annum

Occupied property

Cost per Annum

Council Tax

(Based on Band A in 2018/19)


Rental Income

(LHA 3 bed property)


Empty property premium charge (Empty 2 or more years)


((-£1,180 from 1st April 2019))


(average property price for all types)


Maintenance (garden clearance, drain down, clearing gutters)


Security (Preventing access; boarding-up of the property)






Net gain




Selling your property

There are many ways to sell your empty property; on the open market, through an auction or through a 'quick house sale' company; each option having their own pros and cons.

Occasionally, Housing Associations (Registered Providers) may also be interested in buying empty properties.

The Homes England website has a list of Registered Providers working in your area:


Should you want to have an independent desktop valuation of your property following the advice you have received from your local agents please contact: Privatesectorhousing@rotherham.gov.uk

To help with bringing empty properties back into use the Council manages the ‘Empty Property Register’ which is a register of parties that have expressed an interest in buying long-term empty properties. 

If you have a property and you are looking to sell or if you are interested in buying an empty property to bring it back into use please contact: Privatesectorhousing@rotherham.gov.uk

The Empty Homes Register should not be treated as a list of Council-approved buyers and you would enter into an agreement to sell/buy at your own risk.

The Council would not be party to any transaction and accepts no liability.

Financial help

If you are a voluntary or community group we may be able to assist you with accessing non-council funds through helping with bids to community group funds, please contact: Privatesectorhousing@rotherham.gov.uk for more information.

If you are the owner of an empty property unfortunately there is no direct financial assistance available from the Council to help with bringing your property back into use.

This site will be regularly updated as initiatives and fund become available.

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