Abandonment of property / left the UK


I'm currently dealing with a property that has been empty for 9.5 years & has accrued large Council Tax arrears. I have received information from the nieghbours that the owner has returned to her native country, though I have no actual evidence of this. I have carried out a facebook search under her name and the result does seem to support this information.

There is nothing enforceable for Environmental Health so I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to gain access and take control of the property until the owner comes forward? Alternatively, can I go down the EDMO route if we have no way of contacting the owner and they therefore have no way of defending themselves over it?

Kind regards

Sally Nelson

Empty Homes Officer, Swindon Borough Council

Other enforcement

Hi Sally

you can EDMO it, we have done it where we cannot find the owner, I would and then reclaim the CT from the rent as part for the EDMO. You could a order of sale, but it will be cumbersome.

Call me on 01706 924041 if you me to talk through the approach.




I echo what Darryl has said. You can also compulsory purchase it. Communicate with the owner through the empty property address if you do not have an alternative.

The benefit is there is unlikely to be an objection. If the S of S confirms your order you can sell at auction and keep the proceeds to one side internally or pay into court. If the the owner does not come forward to claim their compensation after 6 years, you can keep that too.


Sue Li

Compulsory Purchase and Enforcement Officer

Derby City Council

We have forced sale in these circumstances.  A large debt had built up over several years, so we discussed it with our legal department, who found it fairly straightforward to secure the charge on the property and apply for the sale to recoup the debt. We still have the proceeds safely held for the owners if they ever reappear. Andrew Lavender covers the process in detail in his various documents.


Horsham DC

In seeking the owner, making 'reasonable enquiries' and 'full enquiries' I refer you to the EHN website's , "Case Studies - warrant of entry issuses". I had a similar case, in the end up gained an Order of Sale (OoS). The Order of Sale was challenged by another member of the family, and I am very glad that by making 'full enquiries' this supported out legal deprtment's case as to why the OoS should be confirmed - it was.