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How to find the owner of an abandoned empty property? 5 Ways

How to find the owner of an abandoned empty property? 5 Ways
How to find the owner of an abandoned empty property? 5 Ways

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If you’re a landlord looking to invest in an empty or abandoned property, one of the most difficult parts of the process might be finding the initial property owner.

In this article, we explain some of the most trusted methods you should try for finding the owner of abandoned property. The faster you find the property owner, the faster you can develop your ideas and aspirations for that property or land.

It’s vitally important that you find the property owner before embarking on any investment ideas or renovation. While a property might seem abandoned, derelict, or empty, it will still have an owner who could technically reclaim the property at any time.

How to find the owner of an abandoned empty property:

1. HM Land Registry

If you want to find the owner of an abandoned empty property without going door-to-door and asking neighbours, one of the easiest ways to do so is by checking the HM Land Registry. While you will pay a small fee to use the registry, you’ll be able to quickly find the owner associated with the property’s address and proceed from there.

When performing a search on HM Land Registry, you’ll perform what’s called a “title deeds search.” Alongside the name of the property owner, you will also have access to other information about the property held on government records, such as its flood risk indicator, how much the property was sold for, and whether the property is freehold or leasehold. If you’re serious about investing in the property, this method is the most reliable. For a title deeds search, you’ll pay around £10, with other searches (such as flood risk indicator) costing an additional £3.

2. Electoral Register

Another way to find the owner of an abandoned property is to check the electoral register. If the owner of the property (or inhabitants of the property) were registered to vote, you should find the owner’s name listed next to the property’s address. This method isn’t 100% reliable, as many property owners are not registered to vote. You may also find that former owners have not updated their new address to the electoral roll, meaning that you’ll find the wrong contact information and contact a former, not current owner. Nonetheless, it can be an effective method: even if you find a former owner of the property, they may be able to help you locate the current owner.

3. Ask Neighbours

If you’re not yet fully invested in the idea of buying the property, but would like to know a little bit more about it, you can always ask around. This involves going door-to-door and speaking to neighbours, asking if they know of any recent activity on the property. This method is great if the abandoned property is in a large residential area or city, but might not be possible if the property is located in a rural area or far from other residential housing.

You can also leave notes both in the property itself (through the letterbox) or in the letterbox of neighbours, with contact information for you, your business or your estate agency. It’s important to be polite and courteous when asking neighbours, especially if you’re approaching them directly or essentially “cold-calling” for information. Be professional, and explain that there’s the possibility of investment in the area, hence why your business is trying to locate the property owner.

4. Speak to the Council

Another way to find the owner of an abandoned property is to go through the local council. The local council may be aware of empty or abandoned houses in their ward, so you may be able to gain some information from them about the owner or any recent activity on the property. Many councils own records of empty land or properties, so they may be able to help you either locate the owner of the property, or inform you about recent activity or proposed investments.

5. Speak to local businesses

Another option you can take to locate the owner of an empty home is to contact local businesses and ask about the property. Speaking to local businesses might be a better option than cold-calling neighbours, as many businesses may have had direct contact with the property (plumbing, home renovation, home repairs etc) and will be able to give you information about any recent activity. However, bear in mind data protection laws – businesses would have to seek permission from the owner before the information is disclosed.

If you’re new to the nuances of vacant property, get in touch with Clearway today and enquire about our vacant property services. We’re also experts in empty property security and void property inspection, with a wealth of experience in this sector, offering everything from temporary alarms to metal security doors and screens. At Clearway we secure, monitor and protect.

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