Empty properties in the Ryedale area

When properties lie empty, they can cause problems. Find out how to deal with them, how to report one and what we are doing to help owners.

We work with property owners across the Ryedale area to encourage and help them bring empty properties back into use. We do this because local people need decent, affordable homes. 

We have put together a plan that explains how big a problem this is across the area, as well as what we are doing to bring empty properties back into use.  You can read the Ryedale Empty Home Strategy 2021 - 2024 here (pdf / 557 KB).

The problem with empty properties

A property is a great investment, but when it is left empty it can cause lots of problems, including the following:

  • an empty house can seriously affect the condition and value of adjoining properties
  • the longer a house sits empty, the more neglected it becomes
  • empty houses are more at risk of vandalism and other misuse
  • empty houses attract anti-social behaviour
  • empty houses have a harmful impact on the neighbourhood
  • empty houses attract fly tipping
  • an empty property will quickly reduce in value
  • the owner is losing money on their asset, rather than making money

Houses are in huge demand in our area.  An empty house could be used to provide someone with a home as well as providing the owner with valuable income.

How we help

Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, owners need help and guidance to bring them back into use. This might simply be advice about how to sell the property, or how to go about renting it out. We will always try to work with owners to help them get the property brought back into use.

If you own an empty property and want to renovate it for rental accommodation, we have funding to help you.

Find out more information about the help available on our advice for landlords page.

How we deal with empty properties

We always offer advice and support to owners of empty properties. If the owner does not work with us, or does not try to bring an empty property back into use, we can take formal action. This can include:

  • applying for a compulsory purchase order
  • selling an empty property to recover any debt that is owed to the council (in this case, a charge is placed on the property before it is sold through an auction)
  • applying for an empty dwelling management order - once approved, this gives us the right to possession of a property without owning it and once the order has been made we can do most things the owner would normally be allowed to do, for example, entering it to inspect its condition and even managing it

How to report an empty property

You can report an empty property online. We will then investigate it and take action. 

Report an empty property

Contact us to report an empty property.

There is some information that we cannot provide about empty properties, but you may find information about ownership from the Land Registry. Information is available on the land registry page of the Government website

Finding a tenant for your empty property

If you are a landlord and have an empty property, we can sometimes help you to find a tenant. Contact us to find out more. 

Our housing specialists will see if anyone might be suitable for your property. Once we have found a possible tenant, we will contact you with their details.

If you want to buy an empty property and trace the owner

There are many ways to try and get in touch with the owner of an empty property, including the following:

  1. Approach your local councillor - they may have useful knowledge and may be able to help.
  2. Post a note on the door of the empty property saying that you would like to contact the owner.
  3. Talk to neighbours. 
  4. Contact the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator and any other neighbourhood community groups as well as local shopkeepers - they may know something about the owner.
  5. Contact our planning or building control departments. If they have processed planning applications or had any dealings with the owner in the past, they may know the name and last known address of the owner. 
  6. Contact the local police station and speak to the home beat officer. They may have attempted to contact the owner if the police have had to secure an empty property against theft or vandalism.
  7. Do a search of the Land Registry. You should find information on all owners of registered land. If the land is unregistered, the Land Registry will not give any information, but you could do a search of the Land Charges Registry. This will show the owner’s details if there are any charges against the property, such as a second mortgage, or if bankruptcy papers have been filed. There may be a fee.
  8. Contact a private firm who specialise in tracing and searching. We are not able to recommend any specific company.