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Empty properties

An empty property is a private sector residential property which has been unoccupied for six months or more. Some buildings do not fit this definition, but are still part of the strategy to reduce empty properties and increase housing availability.

They include:

  • churches
  • chapels
  • other non-residential properties that can be converted into residential accommodation such as commercial properties

An empty property can be brought back into use by renting, selling, or auctioning it, or by the owners themselves moving in.

Financial assistance

Some properties may require work to be brought up to a high enough standard to be rented or sold. We may be able to provide financial assistance for these works.

This assistance includes:

Empty homes grant

This grant helps to bring empty properties back into use and increases the supply of much needed affordable rented homes. We will assess what works are needed to bring a property back into use. Works must not have started before the application is approved, and must be completed within six months of the grant being approved.

Empty homes grant (Valleys Taskforce areas)

Empty property grants are available through the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce empty homes grant. If you live in a Valleys Taskforce area of Bridgend County Borough you may be able to apply for a grant of up to £20,000. £10 million has been set aside by the Valleys Taskforce to help bring empty homes in the valleys back into use.

This grant can be used to help bring properties that have been standing empty for six months or more back to life. The grant is for essential works to make the property safe and secure. You must be looking to buy, or own the property, and plan to live in the house as your main home for at least five years.

Certain areas within some local authorities fall outside Valleys Taskforce boundaries. Please use the Valleys Taskforce map to check that you can apply.

Empty property loan

Empty property loans are available through the Welsh Government’s Houses into Homes scheme. We will work alongside the owner to confirm what work is needed to bring a property back into use. A schedule of works will be agreed before any offer of a loan and will be part of the loan conditions. Works must not have started before the schedule of works is issued, and must start and finish within the timescales in the loan agreement.

Homes in town grant

This grant encourages town centre living in the county borough. It helps tackle empty space in Bridgend town centre and increases affordable accommodation. Properties in the townscape heritage initiative area take priority, but key buildings in the wider town centre area may also be considered. An application will only be considered if the property is suitable for letting out according to our conditions.

We will assess what works are needed to bring a property back into use. Works must not have started before the application is approved. They must begin within six months and be completed within 12 months of the grant’s approval.

This grant can be combined with other grants.

VAT discounts for empty properties

You may be eligible for reduced rate VAT if the property:

  • has not been lived in during the two years immediately before your work starts, and
  • is intended for use solely for a relevant residential purpose

If required, we can write an official letter to the developer or property owner confirming how long the property has been empty. This is their evidence if HMRC needs to check. If you need this to be sent to you, contact the Empty Property Coordinator using the details at the bottom of this page.

To find out more, please visit the VAT Notice 708: buildings and construction page on HMRC’s website.


We work together with owners of empty properties to bring them back into use. However, some properties remain empty, are in a state of disrepair and are detrimental or a nuisance to the community. In these cases, we may use our legislative powers to bring the property back into use.

This may include:

  • enforced sale
  • voluntary acquisition
  • empty dwelling management orders
  • compulsory purchase orders


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