Last updated: 08/04/2013
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Cornwall Council has developed an Empty Property
Cornwall is 1,376 square miles in area with population of
524,000, which gives a relatively low population density of 373
people per square mile. The figures below have been extracted from
the Data Source HSSA (Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix)
2008/2009 and give a good indication of the current empty property
situation in Cornwall.
There are currently 18,372 households on the Cornwall Council
Housing Register. 419 households were accepted as homeless in
Cornwall during 2009/10, of which around 57% were families with
young children and approximately 42% were vulnerable through age or
The Council recognises that long-term empty residential property
is a wasted resource that can and should be used to assist in
meeting the high levels of identified housing need in the County,
particularly for those on low incomes.
Empty property that falls into disrepair can also be an eyesore
and a potential environmental hazard for the local community.
Empty properties present a risk to the community in terms
of nuisance to surrounding properties through vandalism,
graffiti and other anti-social behaviours.
Our empty property strategy includes a range of initiatives
aimed at addressing the issue, including encouraging advice,
access to leasing schemes and financial assistance, and in
some cases formal enforcement action (usually as a last resort, for
example through the enforced sale or compulsory purchase of
properties, where other options have failed).
Many empty properties are likely to be difficult to mortgage
through conventional lenders, and it is our aim to provide
assistance in those circumstances.
Empty property loan
Competitive finance to help bring empty properties back into
habitable use. For more information please view our empty
property loan leaflet.
Report an empty property
To report an empty property or if you are an owner of an empty
property and wish to discuss how it can be brought back into use
please telephone 01726 223600.
An online form is also available to the right so you are
welcome to provide the information here.
Empty properties can also be reported to the Empty Homes Agency
on the Report Empty Homes
website. The Agency collate the information provided by the public
and refer the empty property to the relevant Authority.
The Authority plans to reduce the number of empty properties
across the county. There are a number of different options
available to the Council to tackle empty properties. These
The Council can offer advice on a variety of matters and where
applicable, signpost empty property owners to other agencies.
Advice is available on the following links.
Cornwall Council has created an information booklet
that assists owners of empty properties with bringing
them back into use. Download the information
Where a property remains empty after the Authority has made
every attempt to work informally with an empty property owner to
bring a property back into use, enforcement action may be used as a
Enforcement action may be taken under the following:-
- Referral to Building Control under the Building 1984 Act
- Referral to Planning under section 215 of the Town and Country
Planning Act 1990 and Planning (Listed Building and Conservation
Areas) Act 1990.
- Referral to Environmental Control under the Local Government
(miscellaneous provisions) Act 1982 and the Environmental
Protection Act 1990.
Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO) under
the Housing Act 2004
We can make EDMOs on properties that have been empty for at
least 2 years. There are two types of EDMO – interim and
final. An interim EDMO lasts for up to 12 months but a final EDMO
can last up to seven, 14 or 21 years.
An EDMO allows the Authority to:
- take over the property as if it were the owner
- make sure that empty properties are occupied and managed
The Authority will bring the property back into use but the
property owner will still own it. The Authority can take any costs
to improve the property from the rents received when the property
Compulsory Purchase (CPO) under Section 17
Housing Act 1985
Serving compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) on empty properties
may be justified where there appears to be no other chance of a
suitable property being used as a home. Before a CPO is confirmed,
the Authority will have to show that it has taken steps to
encourage the property owner to bring the property into acceptable
use. The Authority will also need to prove that making a CPO
justifies interfering with the human rights of the property owner
or those of anyone else with an interest in the property.
Enforced Sale under Law of Property Act
Where we have issued and enforced a charge against a property,
we have all the legal rights of a mortgage lender under the Law
& Property Act 1925. We may have issued the charge against the
property because the owner did not:
- obey the terms of a statutory notice we issued or
- pay Council Tax or other debts you owed to the local
For further information the following websites may be of
Frequently Asked Questions