Empty homes

Closed 1 Apr 2024

Opened 26 Feb 2024


Oxford City has a severe housing shortage for dwellings of all tenure; privately owned, rented, social and student accommodation.  

With few brownfield sites left within the city there is very little option to build new housing, including affordable housing.  The Councils’ Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023 makes a commitment to providing more homes, including bringing empty homes back into use. 

Nationally it was recognised by the government of the time that it was important to introduce legislation within the Housing Act 2004, to enable housing authorities/councils to ensure that empty dwellings are brought back into use. 

The council records all dwellings as they become vacant and, since 2017, have been able to charge a premium of different levies in addition to the usual council tax charge for a property.  

The below table details the numbers of empty dwellings in both years. There are usually around 600 dwellings which have been empty for over 6-months.  

Empty Home Category and figures as of 14th February 2024. Premium 2, additional 300% council tax (empty over 10 years) = 10. Premium 1, additional 200% council tax (empty between 5-10 years) = 31. Premium. additional 100% council tax (empty 2-5 years) =108. Empty 6 months-2years = 432. Exemption F (owner deceased empty over 12 months) = 114.

The council acknowledge that there is often a genuine reason for the dwelling to be unoccupied. However, there are exceptions to this and when it becomes apparent that an owner is either unable or unwilling to bring their property back into use, then in these cases, formal action may be considered. 


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