Empty Homes

Introduction to Empty Homes

Empty Homes Week - 28 February to 6 March 2022

Empty Homes Week is recognised by local authorities throughout the UK. It is used to highlight the number of empty homes there are within a local authority area and to encourage support and action to ensure no dwelling is left empty.

In England, latest Government figures show that there are 238,000 homes which have been empty for over six months. Oxford City Council monitor empty dwellings in the city continuously. Information held by Council Tax services is used to establish empty homes figures and why they are left empty. The figures for Oxford city are as detailed in the following table:

Table showing Empty property figures for February 2022

Category Additional % council tax charge Number of dwellings in each category
Premium (empty over 2 to ≤ 5 years) 100 86
Premium 1 (empty over 5 to ≤10 years) 200 17
Premium 2 (empty over 10 years)  300 9
All other categories empty between 6 months and 2 years   251
Total   363

Properties identified as ‘premium’ are charged an additional percent council tax. This form of charging for long term empty properties has been adopted by most local authorities and is intended to encourage owners to bring their properties back into use.

The council contact all owners of empty dwellings throughout the year and many are brought back into use without formal intervention however, the Council can take formal action to ensure a dwelling is brought back into use if deemed appropriate.

Whilst the council is limited in terms of information it can provide, if you are interested in purchasing an empty dwelling, there are ways to establish who the owner is.

For example,

  • Talk to neighbours.
  • Drop a note through the door.
  • For a small fee Land registry searches can be purchased but they do not always detail current addresses for owners.
  • Check the local authority planning application webpage for any planning applications submitted. Details of agents or owners are included within the application form.
  • Ask to have your details included on a list of interested parties, created by the council.

The Council is aware that there are likely to be more empty dwellings in the city so, in order to help us record and deal with all empty property in the city, please get in touch with the council’s Empty Property Officer, Melanie Mutch by calling 01865 252280 or email mmutch@oxford.gov.uk.

What is an Empty Home

An empty home may be a flat, dwelling house or house in multiple occupation which is privately owned and has been unoccupied for more than six months.

Not all empty properties brought to our attention fall within the categories described above (such as commercial properties). However we may make further enquiries to assist in resolving issues of concern or to provide advice on making better use of such a property.

Oxford city has a severe housing shortage due to a growing population and limited opportunity to develop land for additional housing. For this reason the Council is committed to encouraging owners to bring unoccupied dwellings back into use.

There are approximately 300 unoccupied dwellings in the city, 78  of which have been unoccupied for more than 2 years.

Report an empty property

Report an empty property

More information

Housing and Homelessness Strategy (including empty homes)