Empty properties

Our responsibilities

We are committed to reducing the number of empty properties in Brent. We can offer generous grants and incentive schemes to help owners bring these properties back into residential use.

If you leave a property empty, the condition and value of your property will depreciate, the property could be the target of arson, vandalism and squatters. You may be faced with high insurance premiums, and you will receive no rental income.

Any property that has been empty for more than two years will now be charged a premium council tax rate of 150 per cent.

If a property remains empty for a long time there are legal powers we can use to take it over.

Report an empty property to us

Tell us if you know of any empty properties in your area. It might be empty if the windows have been broken for a long time, post has not been collected, windows and doors have been boarded up and the rooms are always in darkness.

If you have an empty property and want to apply for a grant, or need help and advice to bring it back into use, email the Empty Property team at empty.property@brent.gov.uk or call 020 8937 2384.

Empty property grants and loans

A grant can be given to refurbish an empty property to a standard ready for letting. In return, the owner will sign an agreement with the council or one of our partner housing association letting schemes to take tenants for a period of five years.

Popular questions about empty properties

What types of grant are available?

Refurbishment grant

Empty property grants may cover works such as faulty and unsafe electrics, inferior heating system, windows that are so faulty as to be very poor insulation, inadequate kitchen food safety or food preparation arrangements and bathrooms that are very old.

It may also cover work to provide additional bedroom(s), subject to relevant planning and building control approval.

Conversion grant

Empty property grants may also be given towards converting a large empty house to smaller units or for the conversion of empty commercial premises to residential units.

This is always subject to full planning consent.

If you have an empty property and want to apply for a grant, or need help and advice to bring it back into use, please email the Empty Property Team at empty.property@brent.gov.uk.

Commercial grants

Grants for empty commercial properties can be provided to owners looking to convert their asset into residential units. We can provide grants of up to:

  • £156,000 for 4 units or more
  • £39,000 for each 3 bedroom unit
  • £21,000 per annum guaranteed rental income
  • 70 per cent of reasonable cost of works

The Empty Property Team can also provide support with planning applications.

Who qualifies for an Empty Property Grant?

You must own the freehold or the leasehold of the property, and be a UK citizen, or have the power of attorney to act on behalf of the owner of the property.

What type of properties qualify for an Empty Property Grant?

Grants are given to improve houses, flats or commercial units that cannot be occupied because of disrepair such as damp, faulty wiring or rotten timbers. Grants can also be used for converting commercial properties to residential use.

Are there conditions attached to the grant?

Yes, there are some:

  • the property must be empty and in the borough
  • when the works are completed the property must be let to the council for a period of five years
  • the property must conform to planning and building control standards
  • the property must meet the councils terms and conditions of letting

What type of properties are we looking for?

  • family sized accommodation for example with two and three bedrooms; (but we will consider other sized properties.)
  • each property must be self contained
  • we will not consider properties with shared cooking facilities

Will improvements such as a new kitchen and bathroom be considered for a grant?

Yes, improvement such as a new kitchen or bathroom may be considered alongside other works that would qualify for a grant. 

How much grant will I receive?

You may receive a grant of up to 70 per cent of the cost of repair works, or a maximum of £6,500 per person that can occupy your property, whichever is lower. The grant is not means tested, companies as well as individuals can apply.

A one-bedroom property is at 50 per cent, two bedroom properties at 60 per cent and three bedroom and larger are 70 per cent, or at the level of £6,500 for every person that could be accommodated. The approved grant would be the lower of the two calculations and a decision on what may be grant aided will be made only after our surveyor has visited the property.

For example: for a two bedroom property, you could get up to £26,000 in grant aid for refurbishment or conversion works plus receive an average rental income of £14,500 per year.

Who will manage my property?

Either a Housing Association (Resident Social Landlord) or the council will manage your property on your behalf. There is no charge for providing this service.

Who will pay rent for my property?

The housing association or council will pay you the rent. The rent is normally paid a month in advance and will be guaranteed throughout the terms of the lease. 

What do we require from the landlord?

Once you have signed and returned the application pack and works are complete, you will need to supply us with:

  • gas and electrical certificates
  • final invoice
  • five year lease agreement from your chosen housing managing agent

Which Letting agencies can I use?

For grant to be paid, Brent’s Empty Property Team must have a completed and signed five year agreement with one of the following agencies. Please send a copy of the final five year agreement to your Empty Property Case Officer.

Brent Direct Leasing Managed scheme
T: 020 8937 2446 / 2631 / 2447
E: bdlnewhomes@bhphousing.co.uk

Shepherds Bush Housing Group 
Full management service 
T: 020 8996 4225 / 4271 / 8839  
W: www.sbga.co.uk

Genesis Housing Association (Formerly Paddington Churches)  
Full management service  
T:033 3000 3000  
W: www.genesisha.org.uk 
E: THnewbusiness@genesisha.org.uk

London Strategic Housing (Formerly Network/Stadium) 
Managed schemes
T: 020 8459 9214  
E: landlords@londonstrategichousing.com

Can I get a loan?

Yes you can get an interest free loan.

As an alternative to the grant scheme, we can offer an interest free loan for properties that have been empty for two years.

The loan could be up to £30,000 and is repaid from rental income.

This is subject to a five-year nomination or lease agreement with the council or one of our partner housing associations.

To find out if you are eligible, contact us at empty.property@brent.gov.uk or on 020 8937 2384.