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Empty homes

We want our neighbourhoods to be safe and attractive places for everyone to live. Throughout Sunderland, there are a few empty homes which have a negative impact on local communities, as they can attract anti-social behaviour, vandalism and fly-tipping. We are committed to helping owners return their empty properties back into use to provide much needed housing, and to increase confidence within those local communities.

You can find out how the council aims to tackle the issue of empty homes in our Empty Homes Strategy 2020-2025

How we can help you if you own an empty home

If you own a property which is currently empty, there is a range of support available to you:

Purchasing your property

We purchase empty properties in line with our strategic approach, which is to target the top 10 Wards with the highest number of empties, in addition to any problematic properties across the city.
For further information please contact the Housing Development Team by emailing

Landlord Accreditation Scheme

If you are thinking of renting out your empty property you may wish to consider signing up to be a member of our voluntary Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

Private Sector Leasing

We have a Private Sector Leasing Scheme, with one element focusing on properties that need work to let them out.

VAT Reduction

If a property has been unoccupied for two years or more, it can qualify for a reduced rate of VAT at 5% to be charged on certain renovation work and alterations.

Keeping your empty home safe and secure

While occupation is always the best form of security, there are some simple steps you can take to keep your empty property safe and secure:

  • check the property frequently
  • regularly maintain gardens and exterior space
  • hang curtains or blinds so it looks occupied
  • set timers for the Internal lights
  • install motion-sensor security lights and house alarms
  • set the heating to a very low temperature during the winter will prevent burst pipes
  • repair any damage or vandalism
  • leave your contact details with neighbours

Contact us

For further advice and assistance please contact the Empty Homes Team.

Report an empty home

If you are concerned about an empty property in your area, you can report it online or call 0191 520 5555.

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