FAQS about empty homes



How do I find the owner of an abandoned property?

Whilst Empty Homes does not have the capacity to assist individuals or property developers in locating the owners of empty properties, there are a number of ways in which the owner may be located:


• Ask the neighbours – a lot of neighbours may know who owns the property in question and they may have details of how to get in touch with them. They may also be able to provide confirmation as to whether the property is actually occupied or not.


• If the neighbours are unsure if the property is occupied or do not have a way to contact the owner, then consider dropping a note through the door  asking them to get in touch with you.


• For a small fee you can consult the Land Registry to find out if the property is registered and if so who owns the particular property.  You can also confirm things like the boundaries of the land and anyone who may have a financial interest in the property, such as a mortgagee.  The Land Registry can be accessed via the web link: http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/


• Local Authority - the housing departments or empty homes team at the relevant local authority may be aware of the owner and be able to help put you in contact with them.


• Detective or tracing agency - could be engaged in order to try and trace the owner or monitor the property for any activity.


• Neighbourhood Watch: if the property is part of a local Neighbourhood Watch area, you may be able to ask local residents if they have seen any signs of activity at the house.


• Check the Electoral register – if the owner of the property is registered to vote they will be registered on the Electoral Register.


How do I find empty properties in my area?

Empty Homes does not have a list of empty properties or have access to any empty homes themselves.  However, an empty property can be sourced through:


• The Local Authority - they may be aware of the empty properties in the area and may be able to provide you with a list or put you in touch with individual owners.


• Auctions - auction catalogues are a good place to start with when searching for empty properties that are for sale.


• Walking down the High Street – you may spot empty properties as you are walking around town.  (See the above tips for trying to find the owner of the property).


Refurbishing empty homes and obtaining grant funding.

In order to find out what grant funding is available, please get in touch with your local authority. They often have dedicated empty homes teams who will be able to give you any information on any schemes they are running or advice on how to get funding to bring an empty property back into use.

Locations for films and how to find them.

Empty Homes does not have access to any lists of empty properties or have access to individual properties or their owners with regard to using them as film locations. The best way in which you can source abandoned properties is as follows:


• Estate agents - whilst you may not want to buy an empty property, local estate agents may know of properties which are on the market or about to be put on the market and they can sometimes put you in contact with the owners about using the property for this purpose.

Statistics for particular authorities.

Each year the government publishes data on vacant dwellings for each local authority and for England as a whole.  This data is derived from local authority Council Taxbase data, which is a snapshot of the position in October each year.


To view the data please go to table 615 vacant dwellings:




We advise reading the notes that come with the data before using the statistics.


Empty Homes published a new edition of ‘Empty Homes in England’ in September 2016 with our analysis of the latest data.


What does the Empty Homes charity do?

Empty Homes – the national campaigning charity aims to:


  • Raise awareness of the waste of long-term empty homes.


  • Research, develop and work with others to test ideas for bringing long-term empty homes back into use for those in housing need.


  • Provide encouragement and advice for those seeking to bring empty homes back into use, or for those concerned about empty homes.


  • Campaign for changes to policy and initiatives at national and local levels that will enable more action to bring empty homes back into use for those in housing need.


We do not have access to any specific properties, their owners or have specific lists of abandoned properties over the country. As such, the Empty Homes charity does not refurbish or renovate empty homes.


What do Empty Homes Volunteers do?

Volunteers have helped us make more of an impact over the years helping us with our research and campaigning work, answering queries from the public and supporting the day-to-day tasks we have.


These duties can vary depending on what we are working on at the time, but volunteers have the opportunity to get involved with all aspects of the charity.


For more information, look at the ‘Support us’ section on our website.


Local authority action on empty homes.

For many empty homes related matters the first port of call could be to contact your local authority. Many local authorities have an empty homes strategy which sets out the action they take to tackle empty homes in their areas. You can ask for a copy or see the information they put on their website.


Many local authorities also have empty homes teams or staff who specialise in providing advice to owners of empty homes to help ensure they bring them back into use. If you are an owner of an empty home or you are just concerned about empty homes in your area, we encourage you to contact them. They can also advise you on any funding or grants you may be eligible for, as well as any local schemes they are running to get empty properties back into use.


How to contact your local authority.

  • If you are aware which local authority you or the empty property fall under, then a quick search on the internet should provide you with your local authority website.


If you are unsure as to which local authority you fall under, or you are having trouble finding the local authority website or contact information, then the search engine on the Direct.Gov website should be able to provide you with direct links.





For more information please contact:

E: info@emptyhomes.com


  • Registration details:
  • Established: 1992
  • Official name: The Empty Homes Agency
  • Registered in England as a charitable and Community Benefit Society Number 27697R

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