It’s first important to know what the situation is currently. There’s a large inventory of empty houses in the UK with some estimates putting the number at over 200,000. A major aspect of the problem is focused on London.

The issue of ‘buy to leave’ (where wealthy individuals buy London properties hoping that they will rise in value) has affected the capital for a while now. While other parts of the country might not have such a high number of empty properties, they are still an issue.

Empty properties could mean:

Ongoing council tax payments. This can substantially eat into your income. Council tax is often incredibly difficult to manage on your own property. To make matters worse, tax is rising and this is presenting a real issue for many property owners. The problem, however, becomes worse if you examine the finer details. 

You can be charged up to an additional 50 per cent council tax on properties that have been empty for a period of over two years and many councils across the UK have actually imposed an additional penalty for properties that have been empty for over 24 months. You actually pay double the council tax for empty properties in some places.

Other issues include:

Squatters may gain entry: It is a serious problem that could mean that you’re forced to pay legal fees to get them out of your property.

Vandalism and other issues such as arson. Empty properties can be particularly tempting for vandals and can be targeted.

Structural damage to the building: It can take the form of leaks that lead to damp, fungi, and mould or other long-term structural issues that aren’t noticed and keep causing real problems for the building.

Insurance issues: Insurance companies will generally have concerns around issuing a property that has been unoccupied for a while. While some specialist insurance companies do offer cover, most regular insurance companies will not stretch beyond a couple of months cover.

A general loss of value: One of the most worrying concerns about an empty property is perhaps depreciation in value. This is actually compounded if value isn’t added to the house through upkeep. Such a property may easily lose thousands in value if you leave it empty for one year, for example.

Loss of rent: If you add up all the rent the property could be receiving annually (equivalent to local averages and a similar-sized property) you will clearly see that you will be missing out on a substantial amount annually.

Pressure from the local council: You will face at least some pressure to get the property occupied depending on the council the property falls under. At the very least, a council may ask that the property be kept in good order (including the garden/grounds attached to it).

Selling might seem like a rather obvious solution, but it is actually a way to deal with the issue of an empty property. It can be done in a variety of ways now, which means that you have a bit more freedom when it comes to selling.

Estate Agents

The most common way to sell an empty property is using an estate agent. There are certain issues and aspects of the process that can make it problematic, particularly if the property has been empty for an extended period of time and you need the income quickly.

It is also important to remember that using an estate agent to sell your property could mean having to wait for a very long time. Furthermore, you also need to be sure that you are dealing with a reputable estate agent that knows the local area and prices well.

Private House Sales

Sellers sometimes prefer not to use local agents and instead selling their houses privately. It is an excellent way to do it, but only if you are able to manage the substantial stress and work involved in doing so.


Auctions are yet another option for selling. While they might at first seem faster than a conventional estate agent, always keep in mind that you may have to wait sometime for the auction date, and even after the auction, it may take up to 4 weeks for the sale to be completed.

On top of that, you also face the possibility of a low reserve price, something that’s beyond your control and that price will most likely be considerably lower than what you would expect it to be. Keep in mind that many houses go to auction but still fail to sell, which means that there are no guarantees if you decide to use this option.

Home Buying Company

The use of a home-buying company is yet another great option when it comes to selling your empty property.

The great thing about using a home-buying company such as Gaffsy is that you will not have to deal with the stress and strain involved in selling your property with an estate agent. The key benefit of a cash buyer is speed. Simply put, you can sell your property really quickly. At Gaffsy, we buy any house, whether it’s empty or has occupants. 

Cash buyers have been known to turn purchases around in less than one week. The reason for this is that they are professional buyers with pre-approved financing facilities in place, along with an intimate knowledge of the ins-and-outs of property sales as well as conveyancing.