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Buying an empty property

Advice for those who wish to buy an empty property.

Front of property

The Council does not have information on empty properties which are for sale. If you are interested in buying an empty property in order to improve it, you should contact local estate agents or auctioneers who will be able to inform you about any development opportunities which are available.  

Many empty properties are transitional, ie awaiting development or later waiting to be let or sold. There are also a number of empty properties that are empty for a particular reason, ranging from legal matters, a lack of funds or the owner is living elsewhere. 

How can I trace the owner of an empty property?

HM Land Registry holds information about the owners of properties in the UK.

Register on line with HM Land Registry, to receive information on the owner(s) of registered property and land in the UK. The cost for each search is currently £3. This will give you the owner's details and if there are any charges against the property (for example, a mortgage). The Land Registry is a useful way to find the owner's name, but the address given is often the same as the empty property address.

Can I have a list of all the empty properties?

The Council is unable to supply a list of properties owned by individuals, as this information is exempt from disclosure under S31 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the prevention or detection of crime) and S40 (3) (a) (i) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (personal data)

S31 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Prevention or detection of crime

This states that information is exempt from disclosure if such disclosure would be likely to prejudice "the prevention or detection of crime". It is the Information Commissioners view that the prevention and detection of crime includes the physical security of buildings. Although this is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to a public interest test, it is the Council's opinion that it would not be in the public interest to disclose this information. This is because a disclosure of empty property details could lead to cases of burglary, arson, vandalism, or squatting.

S40 (3) (a) (i) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 - personal data

This provides that information which comprises personal data is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act where disclosure of the information would breach the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. As individuals who own empty property will not have been informed that information regarding their property will be disclosed and as they would have a reasonable expectation that a Local Authority would not disclose this information, and that their property will be secure, then disclosure would amount to a breach of the fair processing requirements of Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 31 Mar 2016 at 10:43