North Norfolk District Council is committed to bringing empty properties back into use by encouraging and supporting owners of empty homes through its Empty Homes Strategy.

The Empty Homes Officer is here to work with owners, providing advice, support, and assistance in returning their property for use. 

Enforcement action can also be considered where there is no reasonable prospect of the property returning to occupation. Our empty homes policy explains this enforcement procedure and provides some options and helpful information for dealing with empty homes.

Why does the Council get involved?

An empty property can harm the surrounding area and community, as it is more likely to attract antisocial behaviour, pests, and crime to a neighbourhood. They can also have a damaging effect on property values in the street or local area. The owners of empty properties often live elsewhere and are unaware of the issues affecting the property and neighbours. In addition, there is an acute housing shortage across the country, leading to an increased need to build on Greenfield sites. The Council believes that if you own a property, you also have responsibility for it.

Benefits of bringing a property back into use

Owning an empty property costs you money, whether through a mortgage, Council Tax or utility bills, house insurance or general maintenance and repair bills. 

If occupied, the property could provide a regular rental income covering such bills or a capital sum if you wanted to sell it. Your property could also offer a valuable housing resource for someone in need in the district. Every property brought back into use provides a home for somebody, and if left empty for significant periods, it is more likely to attract squatters and antisocial behaviour, therefore costing you more money.

There are many benefits of returning empty homes to use. These include: 

  • increasing the housing supply within the region for those in housing need
  • recycle a wasted available resource 
  • enhance the local residential environment 
  • reduce the fear of and risk of crime and anti-social behaviour taking place 
  • contribute towards a balanced housing market 
  • reduce the reliance on new build properties to meet housing need 
  • modernisation of the city’s older housing stock and raising its value 
  • regenerating run-down areas 
  • enhancing the vitality of town centres 
  • helping to tackle homelessness
  • aid community cohesion by removing a potential magnet for anti-social behaviour and associated problems
  • provide both work and training opportunities for local tradespeople

Options for empty home use

Several options are available to owners of empty homes that would see their properties reoccupied.

Refurbishing the property

Whether to be occupied by you as the owner, put on the open market for sale or subsequently let on the rental market, bringing the property up to the Decent and Safe Homes Standard is one option. 

To achieve this, help and assistance is available with the following:

Reduced VAT on the refurbishment of empty homes

Tax breaks are available for those who refurbish empty homes, convert office spaces to residential accommodation and for flats above shops. For more information, call HM Revenue and Customs national advice service on 0845 010 900 or 0845 9000 444. Our Empty Homes Officer can also offer help and guidance.

Planning advice

If you decide to refurbish or make major changes to the property, you may need building control approval or planning permission. It is worthwhile to get advice from the Council’s planning team before work starts or you submit a planning application. Information on planning guidelines, pre-planning advice, and the application process can be found on our website.

Letting the property

You could use a managing agent or let a property privately yourself. 

Selling the property

You could sell the property through an estate agent, at auction, or by advertising it yourself.

The Empty Homes Officer also has a list of investors in the district who are interested in buying property. A private sale can also reduce the cost of agent and advertising fees.


The Council aims to assist and support owners and encourage them to bring their properties back into use where possible voluntarily. However, some properties are left empty for long periods and can be poorly maintained, resulting in negative effects on their neighbourhoods and communities. As a result, the Council’s Environmental Protection Team has powers to deal with properties which have a detrimental effect on their neighbours and local areas. 

Properties will be considered for enforcement action on a case-by-case basis, where all other options and alternatives to encourage the owner to return their property to use have been exhausted.

Get in touch

For further information, to arrange a meeting, or to have your empty property assessed for free, please contact the Empty Homes Officer on 01263 516176 or email

Alternatively, write to:

Empty Homes Officer
North Norfolk District Council
Council Offices
Holt Road
NR27 9EN