Empty Homes

Inverclyde’s Local Housing Strategy identifies a key action to increase the number of long-term empty homes brought back into use.  

An empty home is a privately owned property that has been unoccupied for 6 months or more. Empty homes can be a wasted resource that could be better used to help meet the need and demand for housing. 

If your property has been unoccupied for 12 months or more from 1st April 2016 the council tax charge will be 130%.  This is designed to encourage people to deal with empty properties but there are a number of exemptions available so that you are not unfairly penalised.

Advice for Owners & Prospective Purchasers or Tenants

There are significant benefits to owners and local communities by bringing empty homes back into use:

  • cost benefits to the owner if they rent or sell;
  • condition of a property won't deteriorate as quickly if occupied;
  • the outlook of a neighbourhood can improve reflecting on local house prices;
  • the local economy benefits;
  • social, education and transport amenities are utilised minimising the risk of losing services, particularly in rural areas;
  • the property will be providing accommodation for someone in housing need. 

Inverclyde Council’s Empty Homes Officer can provide information, advice and assistance on a wide range of issues:  

  • Property Condition.
  • Renting your property.
  • Selling your property.
  • Sweat Equity Model - for owners who want to retain ownership of their property but can’t afford repairs and can find a tenant willing to undertake works for low/no rent period.
  • Matchmaker service - Matching those wanting to sell or let empty homes and those wanting to purchase or rent them.

Shelter Scotland estimates that:

"an empty house can cost an owner over £7000 per annum.   That includes the cost of council tax, minimal security and lost potential rental."

Renovating Empty Homes

VAT Discounts

Depending how long your property has been registered empty, renovation or alteration works carried out by a VAT registered trader may be eligible for a reduced VAT rate.  Please contact our Empty Homes Officer to find out more.

Builder Merchant Discounts

There are some suppliers who are able to offer preferential rates to empty home owners undertaking works to bring them back into use. Please contact our Empty Homes Officer who can provide more details.

If you are a local builder/supplier in the Inverclyde area and would like to participate in the scheme, please do not hesitate to contact the Empty Homes Officer.

Matchmaking Service

Depending on individual circumstances, sometimes the only or best option is for owners to sell their empty property regardless of its condition.  

The Empty Homes Matchmaker Scheme is a free service which aims to match empty home owners who are selling their property, with people who are looking to buy an empty home in the area.  The Empty Homes Officer will advise both parties when there is a 'match' between an empty home for sale and a buyer's requirements.

Selling an empty home

If you are the owner of an empty property and want to register for the scheme, please complete seller registration form and return to the Empty Homes Officer.

Buying an empty home

If you are interested in purchasing an empty home in the Inverclyde area, please complete registration form and return to Empty Homes Officer.

Please note that the Empty Homes Matchmaker Scheme is not an estate agency, and all negotiations and sales processes take place between the seller and buyer. We recommend that anyone who is seeking to sell their property obtains independent professional valuation and legal advice.

Reporting an Empty Homes

 Both residents and visitors to the Inverclyde area can report an empty property.  To report an empty home or if you require any further information on bringing an empty property back into use then please contact our Empty Homes Officer at the details on this page.

Shelter Scotland are also a good source of information for owners of empty homes.

Page last updated: 13 June 2017