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Empty Properties

If you own a property that has been empty for more than a year, we may be able to help you return it to use.


Did you know that there is a shortage of affordable housing in Colchester?  If all the empty properties in the area could be brought back into use, it would cut housing waiting lists and reduce the need to build new homes on green field sites. 

An empty property is a wasted asset resulting in:

  • Loss of rental income
  • Dilapidation
  • Increased insurance
  • Full Council Tax liability.


If you own a property that has been empty for more than a year, we may be able to help you return it to use by offering:

  • Free advice to enable you to bring the property up to a fit standard
  • Free advice and management support if you let the property through the Housing Options Team. An introduction to potential purchasers if you wish to sell.
  • Possible Access to an Empty property Loan


Empty properties attract fly-tipping, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.  All of these not only reduce the value of the property, but also that of neighbouring properties.  If you are the owner of an empty property you still have a responsibility to ensure that your property is safe; does not create a statutory nuisance affecting your neighbours; and is not an eyesore. If such properties are brought to our attention we usually adopt an initial informal approach by phone or letter. 


However if the problems need to be dealt with urgently, or there is lack of action, then we will adopt a more formal approach.  In the case of unsecured properties this may mean emergency boarding-up, and the recovery of the costs from the owner. Any action we take will be in accordance with our pdf icon Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy 2009 [242kb]


Eligibility for an Empty Property Loan:

  • EPL is available to non-occupying owners, leaseholders and potential landlords of empty properties who have a legitimate and reasonable contractual obligation to repair and maintain the property.
  • Priority will normally be given to applications where:

-          The property has been empty for at least 12 months, and

-          The owner intends that the property will be rented out for the full 5 year loan condition period.

  • As a condition of receiving the loan, the applicant will normally be required to provide tenancy nomination rights to the Council in accordance with the following scale:
 Amount of Loan Nomination Rights
 Up to  £5000 2 years' nomination rights
 £5000 - £10,000 3 years' nomination rights
 £10,000 - £30,000 5 years' nomination rights

This will mean that the property can be used by people who are on low incomes from the housing register.


How to contact us

If you are an owner and wish to inform or discuss with us about an Empty Property that you own and you would like to consider bringing it back into to use. You can contact the Private Sector Housing team via Colchester Borough Council's Customer Services based at the Library and Community Hub, Trinity Square, Colchester. The offices are open 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.


Fill in and submit our Private Sector Housing Advice/Complaint Form


Write to us at:    Private Sector Housing Team, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester CO3 3WG

Telephone us on 01206 282581 (option 6)  Textphone users should dial 18001 01206 282581

Fax: Colchester 01206 282598

You can also email us at: housing.private@colchester.gov.uk