Empty homes

In Trafford there are almost 1000 homes that have been vacant for more than six months.

Empty properties can cause significant harm to local communities by:

  • Attracting crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Affecting the image of an area making it undesirable
  • Devalue surrounding homes
  • Contributing to the lack of suitable and affordable homes within the borough

We are therefore keen to work with owners of empty homes to bring these properties back into use.

You can report an empty home:

Benefits of bringing empty properties back into use

  • Potential for rental income
  • Added security against anti-social behaviour, crime, and squatting
  • Long term investment potential
  • Improve the local area, making it more attractive to investors
  • Area becomes safer and more desirable
  • Savings on Council Tax
  • Removes threat of Council enforcement action
  • Increase the overall supply of housing in the borough

How can we help

Early intervention will result in minimal cost to the owner, but if a property suffers significant damage the cost can be overwhelming. If squatters move into the property the legal fees involved in recovering possession can run into thousands of pounds.

We can help owners to bring an empty property back into use by working in partnership with social enterprise schemes and local housing associations/Registered Providers (RPs). Flexible options include:

  • Having the dwelling let and managed by professional RP on your behalf. The owner will retain ownership of the building at all times.
  • Introduction to partners who may be able to provide contractors to carry out works at the property, potentially at discounted rates.
  • The Council can offer an interest free loan of up to £10,000 to assist with repairs to bring a property back into a habitable condition.
  • The Council can help you to sell your property via the Matchmaker Scheme

Council Tax on empty homes

A Council Tax premium will apply to all properties that have remained empty for 2 or more years. The premium will increase the longer the property remains empty.

The current premium rates are as follows:

  • Properties empty for 2 years but less than 5 years – 200%
  • Properties empty for between 5 and 10 years – 300%
  • Properties empty for 10 years or more – 400%

The additional Council Tax charges may be waivered for 12 months if the property is sold and the new owner intends to carry out work to make the property habitable. In such a situation, the new owner will need to apply for the waiver with a clear schedule of works and timescales for completion. For more information, please contact housing.standards@trafford.gov.uk.

Enforcement action

We try as much as possible to work alongside owners to bring properties back into use. But where an owner is unwilling to cooperate and their empty home is causing issues in the neighbourhood, we have to consider legal action.

Options available to us include:

Statutory enforcement action
We use a wide range of enforcement powers to make sure an owner improves their property
Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO)
Enables the Council or a nominated party (usually a registered provider) to take over management of the property for up to seven years
Enforced sale
Allows the sale of an empty property to be forced to recover debts owed to us
Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)
When we buy a property from an owner even if they don't give their consent.

Further advice and support

  • Action on Empty Homes - Campaigning for empty homes to be brought into use for people in housing need
  • VAT for builders - Tax relief available on long term empty property developments
  • Homes England - Providing opportunities for people to live in high quality, sustainable places
  • Ecology Building Society - Building society that specialises in renovation and new build mortgages that are ecologically conscious
  • Let Us – Greater Manchester’s Ethical Lettings Agency