Empty properties in South Cambridgeshire could be brought back into use to help families in need of a suitable home.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has launched a campaign to address the 'urgent need' to get empty private properties back into circulation, so as many people as possible can live in a home that is fit for their needs.

The campaign, which is part of Empty Home Week 2024, is urging private property owners to sell or rent the vacant properties.

Cllr Henry Batchelor, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for environmental services, said: "The cold weather highlights the shortage of suitable homes even more acutely. 

"Unlocking the doors to empty homes is vital. It’s not just about providing shelter; it's about supporting families and communities.

Royston Crow: A property which has been vacant since 2020 was recently brought back into useA property which has been vacant since 2020 was recently brought back into use (Image: SCDC)

"Every vacant house holds the potential to become a home. It's time to transform vacancy into vitality. 

"If you own an empty property but are considering rental, don’t hold back as it could bring additional income and keep your property secure and heated."

Empty properties can be rented through Shire Homes, the council's private sector leasing scheme.

Shire Homes can take on a property for three or more years and provides guaranteed rental payments every month, with no management fees, regular property visits, a full management service and day-to-day maintenance.

All rental homes must be safe and in rental condition.

Shire Homes also offers a 'Homes for Ukraine' option where owners could potentially receive funding of up to £570 per home to go towards PAT testing, a gas safety certificate, an EPC and smoke alarms, so that their property is ready for a Ukrainian resident.


Recently, a property was brought back into use which had been empty since 2020, when the owner died leaving no known relatives.

The downstairs neighbours experienced problems with burst pipes and flooding, with no prospect of the property being sold.

The council's empty homes officer worked with a genealogy company to trace two distant relatives in France, who have agreed to commence probate and sell the property.

Private homeowners can support the campaign by contacting empty homes officer Anna Nightingale on anna.nightingale@scambs.gov.uk.