Empty Properties

Empty properties in Ribble Valley is a priority for the council. Housing is in high demand and empty houses are a valuable wasted resource. We work with owners of long term empty properties to:

  • offer advice and assistance
  • encourage renovation or sale
  • enforce use or sale of property through Compulsory Purchase Orders or Empty Dwelling Management Orders

Help for owners

We offer free independent advice to owners of empty properties on ways of bringing their properties back into use.  If you own an empty property and are not sure what to do with it the following are some of the options available

  • Letting the property - you could use a managing agent or become a landlord and let the property yourself. See Grants for Landlords
  • Selling the property - either through an estate agent, at auction or by yourself.
  • Refurbishing the property for you to live or to make the property available for letting. You May be able to take advantage of potential money saving ideas. Visit the HM Revenue and Customs website

Reporting an empty property problem 

The council is able to deal with the following problems which empty properties create;

  • Rubbish which has been dumped
  • Vermin (eg rats)
  • Unsafe parts of properties, for example loose slates and gutters
  • Properties which are not secure and need boarding up
  • Properties which are an eyesore
  • Hedges which are overgrowing onto footpaths
  • Dampness to adjacent properties

As empty properties can have a serious negative effect on a neighbourhood we can use powers of Compulsory Purchase to take a property from the existing owner and transfer it to a housing association or sell it on the open market. Whilst the owner would be compensated for the market value of the property, it is only used as a last resort where the owner is not showing satisfactory progress on renovation or occupation.

Buying an empty property

If you are interested in buying an empty property you will need to contact the current owner and negotiate a sale.  We cannot arrange the sale of privately owned properties.

We may hold information on the owner but are unable to release this due to the Data Protection Act. 

To trace the owner of an empty property you could take the following steps:

  • Write a letter addressed to 'The Owner' and put it through the letter box of the property, as the owners of many empty properties do visit and collect the post.
  • Contact Land Registry to find out the name and address of the registered owner. This is public information which anyone is entitled to obtain (there is usually a charge for this service and not all properties are registered).
  • A named person can often be located in the same way as people investigating a family tree using telephone directories and electoral register.
  • Talk to the neighbours of the empty property as they often know useful information about the owner or their relatives.