Ryedale District Council


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Empty residential properties

Information about what the council is doing to reduce empty homes, why they are a problem, what can be a done if a person leaves a property empty, reporting an empty property, contacting the owner of an empty property and how to report an unsecured building open to public access.


We are working with property owners in the district to encourage and assist them to bring empty properties back into use, in order to provide much needed decent, affordable homes for local people. For more detailed information please see the North Yorkshire Empty Property Strategy and Action Plan 2017-2021.

This Action Plan draws on current good practice in dealing with empty properties across Ryedale. It identifies the scale of the issue, together with the options and resources available to bring empty properties back into use and to address the adverse impact on local neighbourhoods and economic regeneration.


A property is an excellent investment and asset, as well as the costs incurred to the owner when leaving a property empty, vacant dwellings often have seriously detrimental effects upon the condition and value of adjoining properties. Usually, the longer dwellings have remained vacant, the greater their disrepair, the more the risk of vandalism and other misuse and the greater the harmful impact on the neighbourhood. So when left empty it is put at risk of falling into disrepair, attracting vandalism, unsociable behaviour and fly tipping. Also, an empty property will depreciate rapidly in value. Owners of empty properties are losing money on their asset, which should really be making them money.

There is a huge demand for housing and letting out a flat or house can provide a significant income. The council are able to offer valuable advice and support to owners of empty properties. However, when negotiations do not succeed, a range of powers are available to make sure the property is reused which include; compulsory purchase, enforced sale and the introduction of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO) which can put owners at risk of losing control of their property.


Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, owners need help and guidance to bring them back into use, for example, advice about how to sell the property, or how to go about renting it out. In the first instance, the council will work with owners to help them to find a solution to get the property brought back into use.

If you are the owner of an empty property that needs renovation and you are intending to let the accommodation, funding is available from us. For further details please see our Landlord improvement grants and loans information.
If the owner of an empty property does not work with the council or makes insufficient effort to bring an empty property back into use, it may be necessary to take formal action which can include:

  • applying for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on a property which is derelict or abandoned and where the owner provides no plans for bringing the property back into use
  • using the enforced sales procedure, which enables the council to sell any vacant property to recover debt owing to the council. Where there is money owing to the council, a charge is placed on the property before it is sold through an auction
  • applying for an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO). Once approved, an EDMO gives the council the right to possession of a property without taking over its ownership. Once an EDMO has been made, the council can do most things the owner would normally be entitled to do with the property, such as entering it to inspect its condition and even managing it.


If you are aware of a long term empty property, which gives rise to concerns in your neighbourhood and you wish to report this for investigation by the Council, please complete the Report a suspected empty property form.

We are unable to provide certain information about empty properties, but you may find information about ownership from the Land Registry.


If you are a landlord with an empty property, you may be able to get help to find a tenant.

Please email your request to Housing Services and a referral will be made to the Council’s Housing Specialists, who will see if anyone might be suitable for your property. Once we have found a possible tenant we will contact you with their details.


There are a number of ways you can try to make contact with the owner of an empty property. The following provides some useful tips on how to trace the owner of an empty property.

Tracing the owner of an empty property

Tracing an unknown/absent owner is the first step towards bringing an empty property back into use and there are a number of steps that can be taken to find out the name and whereabouts of an owner.

  • An approach could be made to local Councillors – they may have useful local knowledge and may be willing to help.
  • Post a note on the door of the empty property stating that you would like to contact the owner.
  • Talk to neighbours and contact the area Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator and any other neighbourhood community groups as well as local shopkeepers – they may well know something about the owner. This method costs nothing and could yield valuable information about an empty property.
  • The Planning and Building Control Departments of the local authority. If they have processed planning applications or had any dealings with the owner in the past, they may be able to supply the name and last known address.
  • Contact the local police station and speak to the home beat officer. He/she may have attempted to contact the owner if the police have had to secure an empty property against theft or vandalism.
  • Do a search of the Land Registry, which has 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 reveal the owner’s details if there are any charges against the property (e.g. a second mortgage) or if bankruptcy papers have been filed. For further information on Land Registry and Land Charges visit the Land Registry website. A fee may apply for the service required.
  • Contact a private firm who specialise in tracing and searching. The council is not able to recommend any specific company.



Contact us

Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

Email: Contact the Council

Phone: 01653 600666

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