There are about 1,500 long-term empty properties in Waltham Forest that could potentially become a new home for you or your family.

Report an empty property on your street

We need your help. If you know of an empty property, like a house or flat above a shop, please contact us immediately as it could be turned into a new home for people who need it.

If you own an empty property

If you own an empty property, we want to work with you to bring your empty property back into use.

If you own an empty property that has been empty for over two years, you may be eligible for a Reduced VAT letter that offers up to 5% VAT. Please contact the Empty Property Team for an appointment to inspect the property. Email:

If you don’t co-operate with our efforts to bring your empty property back into use, in certain cases we could have to:

  • serve a compulsory purchase order
  • take action to sell your property

Empty property VAT reductions

Your VAT costs can be reduced when refurbishing your empty property for residential use.

You may be eligible for a reduction in VAT to 5% if:

  • your property has been empty for a minimum of two or more years before you start works
  • the property will be used for residential purposes after you complete the works
  • you will be using builders to complete the works.

Further information can be found on the GOV.UK Website: (VAT for builders).

A property might be empty if:

  • Windows have been broken or left open a long time
  • Post is piling up
  • No lights in the property
  • Doors and windows boarded up
  • No rubbish collected from bins in a long time

Please report an empty property giving as much detail as possible.

Problems caused by empty properties

  • Fly tipping
  • Overgrown gardens
  • Squatting
  • Drug Use
  • Vandalism and graffiti
  • Negative effect on sales if you live next to one

What the council can do if your property is left empty

Where we can’t find the owner or they refuse to cooperate, we may:

  • Serve notices with regard to pests, rubbish tipping, or other nuisance.
  • We may enforce a sale to recover any debt owed to the council.
  • We may start compulsory purchase proceedings and the property sold at auction.

Find out more about your council tax increase by increments

Freedom of information requests

We are unable to provide names of businesses or addresses of empty residential and commercial properties.  This is because we consider disclosing this information would make them a target of crime. This information is exempt from disclosure under Section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Under Section 31(1)(a), public authorities are not obliged to release information that is likely to prejudice the functions of law enforcement (the prevention and detection of crime).

Enquiries to the Metropolitan Police indicated that release of information about where buildings are situated would increase the potential for:

  • Buildings to be targeted by squatters
  • Buildings to be targeted by criminals or terrorists intent on hiding or depositing proceeds of crime, or of terrorists materials
  • Premises to be identified as short-term hiding places by criminals or terrorists
  • Premises to be targeted by vandals or street artists.

Renting your empty property

Lettings Waltham Forest is Waltham Forest Council’s in-house letting agency helping landlords find keyworkers and professional tenants for their properties at market rates.

We require properties of all sizes within Waltham Forest and can even help you refurbish your property to bring it to a lettable standard.

You can access further information about our services through the Lettings Waltham Forest - Landlords Letting Pack (PDF).

To find out more about what we offer, visit our letting your property page

To get more information, please contact the team by calling 0208 496 4865 or 0208 496 5525 or by sending an email to

Empty Properties team