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Landlord Advice

Practical advice about getting your property ready to let, finding the right tenants or selling your investment on.

Landlord Advice

The Council works with people who are looking for accommodation in the private rented sector. Some may be on a low wage, and in receipt of benefits. The Council offers tenants and landlords a range of support services and financial incentives to create tenancies that are sustainable. To help do this, the Council may be able to offer a landlord a deposit or fee in place of a cash deposit on behalf of clients.

Bringing empty properties back into use

Why bring back an empty property back into use? From the community's point of view, every empty home is an opportunity and could provide a warm, safe haven for a local family. Empty properties can quickly become a deteriorating asset that cost you money, and run the risk of being vandalised.

The Council can offer you advice and support on getting your house ready to rent out, even if it needs a bit of work. It can also help you to understand the regulations you need to have in place to protect both yourself and your tenants.

If you own a property in good condition

There are quite a few options you could consider.

  • Take your property to a private rental agency. The National Landlords Association provides useful advice on finding and using a letting agent. Agents who have signed up to their scheme must provide a professional standard of service to you and your tenant, and can give advice on things such as rent, insurance, finding tenants and maintenance work. As a landlord, you would still be responsible for insuring the building and undertaking major repairs and maintenance.
  • Eastern Landlords 

    Eastern Landlords aims to:

    • Provide a forum for consideration of matters relating to the letting of private properties and to promote a professional standard of practice and conduct by all our members for the benefit of the private rented sector as a whole
    • Provide mutual advice and assistance to members in connection the letting of properties
    • Promote the professional standing of the Association within the private rented sector
    • Represent equally all landlords
  • Rent your property, acting as your own landlord. The FDC pdf icon Rent Deposit Scheme [159kb] is also available for prospective tenants, who need assistance with rental deposits. The payment is paid directly to landlords, and does not have to be returned (conditions apply). In addition with this scheme, we also supply a free service to assist with lettings, fast tract payment of local housing allowance and lists of prospective tenants. Our Landlord Information pack (see downloads) also provides useful information.
  • Commercial "housesitting" services. Some commercial companies offer a "housesitting" service and install occupants in empty buildings to keep an eye on them. The owner has to pay a small weekly fee, but this is usually much less than paying for 24 hour security.
  • Sell it. There are a number of reputable estate agents who can sell your property for you. At times when the housing market is weaker, you could be better off selling at an auction or through a specialist agent. Look out for estate agents that specifically market properties to developers. You could also advertised through a self-build plot agency that advertises properties to those wanting to restore or redevelop them.
If you own a property in poor condition

Whatever you decide to do with your empty property, bringing it back into use is always to your advantage.

  • Refurbish it.Sometimes there are tax breaks available for refurbishing empty properties, and you may be able to reduce or recover VAT. More information can be found on the HMRC website
  • Take it to the Auctions. Auctions can be an effective way to dispose of property which is difficult to sell, and often results in a good price being achieved for dilapidated property. Prospective buyers make bids for the property on the audition day, and the successful (highest) bidder must go through with the purchase within a number of days - often quicker than the traditional 'estate agent' process. Most empty properties are sold through auctions, which have the advantage of having a targeted audience of developers, cash buyers, investors and portfolio holders. They may have different requirements to prospective homeowners buying at an estate agents, and unlike many homeowners may be attracted to empty properties. Contact RICS for details of estate agents running auctions in your area.

What will the Council do if I continue to leave my property empty?

We will only use legal sanctions when a voluntary solution is not possible - however we do have a range of powers.

Compulsory purchase. In some circumstances, we are able to employ powers to force the sale of empty property with or without your permission. However, we will only do so if you have no realistic plans for it yourself and you won't consider any voluntary options for returning it to use.

Empty dwellings management orders. If you have rejected reasonable voluntary solutions, we are able to employ powers to take over the management of the property. This is initially for up to a year, but if you still can't agree on a voluntary solution it can be extended by up to seven years.