Empty homes advice

Advice and Assistance: We can offer you advice and assistance to help you return your empty home back into use.

Selling: One option may be to sell the property. This could be done through an estate agent, privately or at auction and could result in a profit for you.

Through an estate agent: An estate agent will come and value the property and give you advice about selling the property. If you choose to sell they should advertise the property in their office, via local media and put the property on the internet. They will arrange and conduct viewings and arrange an Energy Performance Certificate. Estate agents do typically charge a fee for selling a property.

Sale of the property privately: Another option may be to sell the property privately. You would be responsible for the marketing of the property, viewings and arranging the Energy Performance Certificate.  This may result in fewer viewings than an estate agency as it may be difficult to reach a wider audience, but could save you money in estate agency fees.

Selling at auction:  This can be an ideal way of ensuring that you gain the best possible price and avoid any last minute hitches. Similar to selling with an estate agent, it is worth undertaking some research into auctions beforehand and shopping around to find the auctioneers that suits you best.  There will be costs attached to selling at auction.

Please see a guide giving advice on selling your property.

Letting the property: You may wish to retain the property and make an income from it.  You will need to decide if you wish to manage the property or if you wish a managing agent to do it on your behalf.

The property will need to be in a good state of repair and free from any hazards before it can be let.  If you require advice on this you can contact Tamworth Borough Council's Private Sector Housing Team.  They could visit the property and offer you advice. The Council could also offer you a grant.

If you would like to be the landlord: Your obligations as a landlord are defined by the Housing Act 2004 which outlines your legal responsibilities. There is a lot of support and advice available if you have never been a landlord before, including courses and advice from the council's private sector housing tea. You could join the National Landlords Assocation or the Residential Landlords Assocation, both provide resources such as sample tenancy agreements. Tamworth Borough Council also runs a Landlord Forum, which meets quarterly.

If you wish to use a managing agent: You could use a letting agent. They will manage the property on your behalf, and will charge a fee to do this.  They will:

  • Find tenants, hold and manage deposits, prepare and signing tenancy agreements and inventories, collecting rent,
  • Dealing with repairs, regular inspections and ensuring compliance with tenancy conditions, serving notices

Please see a guide on letting your home.

Renovating the property: You may have bought the home with the intention of renovating it before moving in, or selling or letting it. We can offer grants to assist with this.

Planning Permission; If you are planning to undertake any building or demolition work, you may need planning permission. It is recommended that you discuss this with our planning department at the earliest opportunity. They will be able to advise if you need planning permission and if it is, give advice on making on your application.

Returning a property in a conservation area: Tamworth has seven conservation areas and 175 listed buildings. If you own a property in one of these areas, a listed building and it is empty and you wish to do work to bring it back into use, there will be stricter rules around planning. There could also be funding available to assist you.

Building Control: If you make any alterations to an empty property, you may need to discuss these. Building Control can offer advice and guidance on whether or not Building Regulation Approval is required and can offer advice on standards required.

Building Regulations are a set of minimum standards that all ‘building works' must meet and they may apply to any extension or alteration that you make to your home. They cover all aspects of construction including the stability of the structure, fire safety, damp-proofing, insulation, ventilation, provision of facilities etc.

Reduced rate of VAT for renovating Empty Homes: Depending on the length of time the property has been empty, VAT reductions have been introduced. This is to promote the renovation and restoration of empty properties. A rate of 5% can be charged by a builder where the property has been empty for at least two years. This reduced rate can be applied to repair, maintenance or improvements carried out to the fabric of the building.

If the property has been empty for 10 years or more prior to the work starting VAT may be zero rated on the sale of, or the offering of a lease which exceeds 21 years, providing the property remains in residential use. If the intention is to renovate the property and move in, rather than sell or lease, then you may still be able to make a claim under the DIY Builders & Converters Refund Scheme. The VAT on the building materials used can be reclaimed from HM Revenue & Customs.