Urgent Telephone 4pm - 8.30am : 01233 331111

Reporting Empty Homes

A long term empty home is a property which has been empty (unoccupied) for six months or more.

We have been working to reduce the number of long term empty homes in the borough for some time. With a high level of demand for housing in the borough and limited supply, it is essential that full use should be made of existing housing stock to meet the local housing need.

Some owners, largely in the private sector, choose to leave properties empty for a number of years. The reasons often involve:

  • Inheritance issues and/or delays with probate
  • Lack of finances to carry out essential repairs to the property
  • The owner may be in residential care
  • Ownership of the property may be unclear
  • Owners live abroad
  • Perceived problems with letting the property.

Empty homes are potential homes

If brought back into use, empty homes can:

  • help to reduce the need to build more new homes
  • the reuse of existing buildings is generally more environmentally sustainable than building new homes
  • improve neighbourhoods
  • reduce anti-social behaviour, such as graffiti
  • provide an income to the owner(s)
  • increase access to housing and
  • help to improve the quality of life for our residents.


We try and work positively with owners, however encouraging the return to use of an empty home is a lengthy and time consuming process.

Working in partnership with Kent County Council No Use Empty Initiative Loan Scheme many properties have been brought back into use with the No Use Empty loans.

For more information please visit the Kent County Council ‘No Use Empty’ campaign website which has details of empty homes loans.

The Authority can take action where a building is unoccupied and not effectively secured against unauthorised entry or likely to become a danger to the public.

Where negotiations with an owner have been exhausted, the Authority has powers to take enforcement action against an owner to carry out repair works. As an absolute last resort, a Compulsory Purchase Order could be made, particularly if the property has fallen into serious disrepair.

Get help and report an empty home to us

If you are the owner of an empty home and would like our help, please ask us. If you know of an empty home near you, we'd also like to know about it.

Please email private.sectorhousing@ashford.gov.uk or call them on 01233 330339.

Advice on any available government funded loans will be given where appropriate.