We define a long-term empty home as a residential property that has been left unoccupied for six months or more. Bringing long-term empty homes back into use is a national priority to make better use of the existing housing stock. On a local level, housing within the Borough is in short supply. Long-term empty homes represent a wasted resource and can have a serious negative impact on local communities. We are working with owners of properties and with local communities to make long-term empty properties a thing of the past. To find out more, please see our Housing strategies web page where you can scroll down to read our Empty Homes Strategy and Empty Homes Action Plan. If you have any questions about our work in bringing long-term empty homes back in to use, or if you own an empty property and you are seeking advice, please contact the Housing Strategy Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Before you report an empty home Empty homes can sometimes cause other concerns such as those related to the condition of the property or activities connected to it. These are dealt with by different Council services, please contact: Pest Control for problems with vermin such as rats or mice Anti-social behaviour team (Community Safety) if the property is attracting anti-social behaviour) Customer Services if the property is not secure. Phone 01234 267422 and ask for Community Regulation Noise, nuisances and pollution (Environmental Services) if the property is causing a statutory nuisance Planning Enforcement if the front garden is in an untidy state Fraud team if the property is being used for tenancy fraud Bedfordshire Police if you think the property is being used for criminal activity. Please contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or if your concern is more urgent, for example the property is being broken into, please call 999. Reporting an empty home If you believe a property has been left empty for more than six months and would like to report it to us for further investigation under the Empty Homes Programme please use the Empty Homes Reporting Form using the button below. You must only use this form to report a residential property that may be empty and of which we might not be aware. If you know the empty property belongs to a Housing Association, please contact them directly in addition to submitting your report to the Housing Strategy Team. Report an empty home Once received your report will be acknowledged and then investigated in line with the processes and priorities outlined in the Council’s Empty Homes Strategy. Our work to facilitate bringing empty homes back into use can be a lengthy process - sometimes involving complicated and/or confidential discussions with property owners. This often means bringing a property back into use can take some time. In line with the Empty Homes Strategy unless there are exceptional circumstances we do not take enforcement action against owners who are residing in a care home or have moved to receive or provide care. If the results of our inquiries reveal this to be the case, we will not usually take further action. What we can offer owners of empty properties We are committed to bringing long-term empty properties back into use. We do this by offering to owners: free advice and support with renting out property a free tenancy deposit guarantee scheme free identification of suitable tenants for properties in the scheme Rent your property through the Council If you are interested in renting your empty property through the Council, please follow the links below for further information: Private Sector Leasing (PDF) Planning advice may be needed in some cases. There may be a charge for this. For more information, please visit our planning section. Please note for persons interested in purchasing an empty property, GDPR legislation means that the Council cannot disclose details of empty homes owned by individuals. Action we can take Where an owner persistently leaves a property empty, we have a range of powers to bring it back into use including Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs). Council Tax and empty properties Unless the property is exempt, Council Tax is charged for empty homes. Please visit our Council Tax on empty properties page for more information.