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Incentives to bring empty homes back into use

Empty Homes Loan

We can give the owners of empty homes loans to enable them to bring the properties back in to use. The loan is a maximum of £20,000 but the property must be in one of our Selective Licensing Areas.

A landlord will be eligible for a loan if they are:

Accredited through the Good Landlord and Agent Scheme (GLAS) or;

  • Working Towards Accreditation;
  • Licensed through the Council’s Selective Licensing or Mandatory Licensing schemes

This criterion will ensure that re-occupied properties are managed satisfactorily, thoroughly referencing tenants and ensuring that any breaches of tenancy agreements are addressed.

In addition the Landlord’s property must:

  • Require remedial works or requiring works necessary to bring the property up to Decent Home standards including the provision of energy efficiency works and
  • Have been vacant for 6 months or longer and
  • Not been included in a future clearance programme subject to an Executive decision or is in a confirmed clearance area will not be eligible for a loan

The landlord will be required to repay the loan on a monthly basis over a maximum period of 10 years or a shorter period if agreed with the recipient of the loan. The repayments will be recycled back into the Housing Capital Investment Programme for future intervention to long term empty homes.

No incentive will be awarded to an applicant with a history of non-compliance with the Council, or who has outstanding/unresolved repairs or complaints under housing or other related legislation. No incentive will be awarded to an applicant who has Council Tax debt or any outstanding recharge or fees unless an agreement is in place to clear the debt, recharge or fees.

No incentive will be awarded to an applicant who has failed to apply for a licence for properties within their portfolio located in an area designated for Selective Licensing.

Selective Licencing fee payment

As the Empty Homes Loan is only available to qualifying landlords in a Selective Licencing Area, we will pay the licencing fee for that qualifying property. To qualify for Selective Licencing fee payment a qualifying landlord must

Acquire a property on or after the 1st of January 2017 that has been vacant for 12 months or more

  • Renovate the property to the GLAS Gold Standard (see the Code of Practice available in the downloads section)

  • Complete the works within 6 months of Council acceptance on the scheme

    Council Tax Discount

    We are offering an extra incentive for owners by awarding a 100% local discount for up to six months, once renovation works have been completed on former uninhabitable or long-term empty properties (vacant 12 months or more), and the works have brought the property up to the Gold Accreditation Standard.

    The scheme will operate retrospectively, so the discount is awarded once the works are completed, an inspection has been made and the property is occupied.  The Council Tax that has been paid throughout the renovation period will then be refunded to the owner.

    Participation in the scheme is conditional upon there being no Council Tax arrears or debt owed to Burnley Council. Where the applicant has multiple properties, all accounts for each property must be paid up to date, not just those affecting the relevant property.

    To be eligible for this new local Council Tax discount, the property must be in a certain state of disrepair and include significant category 1 Hazards as defined by the Housing Act 2004.

  • have been vacant for a minimum period of 12 months (not lived in)

  • be unfurnished

  • be undergoing renovation works that will achieve the Council’s Gold Accreditation Standard and be completed with the property occupied within a timeframe of 6 months

A copy of the Empty Home Loan Policy can be downloaded from this page and is also available for inspection at the Council's office.

One applicant for the interest free loan said:

“I’m indebted to Burnley Borough Council for running its Empty Home Loan Scheme which I have been extremely grateful to be able to participate in. It’s allowed a small and struggling landlord like myself to get one of my properties up and running again at a difficult time for me financially. The Scheme was very easy to set up, with a minimum of documents to fill in and lots of help from the Council officers, and the payment to my contractors once the work was completed was really prompt – a first class service!

This is an excellent scheme that I would recommend to anyone who needs help getting their property into a rentable condition again, and being able to spread the payments over ten years really softens the blow and allows you to get back on your feet again without taking one step forward and then two backwards. Well done to the Borough Council for having the good foresight and wisdom to instigate such a worthwhile and helpful initiative to benefit both landlords and the local community.”

Ian Gregory

Small Landlord



Refurbishing properties 

We refurbish properties, including a number of properties being remodelled (i.e. two in to one).

Partnership work

Housing work closely with several other units across the Council to tackle the problems associated with empty homes e.g. anti-social behaviour, crime and fly-tipping.

Maintaining the general environment and security of the areas


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