Direct offers of purchase

Do any of you make offers to purchase empty properties directly to the owners? If so, are there any incentives offered e.g covering legal fees etc? We would like to start doing them and am interested in what the take ups been in other local authorities, and what barriers you may have encountered. 


Any advice appreciated,



Debbie Freeman

Empty Property Officer

Bath and North east Somerset Council

miscellaneous issues

Hello Debbie

We have some experience of this and we're dealing with a case at present where a Council is looking to purchase a property. No particular barriers so far as far as I'm aware. Happy to discuss...

Best wishes

Hi Debbie

In Rochdale we have acquired a number of properties by agreement, we don't generally offer to pay legal fees unless it's a property we are purchasing in advance of a CPO.   We do offer to pay the costs for an independent valuation of the property.

Hope this helps.



Hi, we've always offered to buy as part of a a CPO, I think its a requirement but we had to stop doing these a few years ago and never got a positive response anyway.  We also offer to buy back ex-council estate properties so that we can bring them back into stock. Its managed by our Housing Strategy team who actively pursue owners and we share data so that they know about any that we have found. I think that they offer to cover all fees but wouldnt swear to it. The contact there is Paul manages to buy back quite a few each year but I think most are on the open market. Our market rental team within our housing service also occasionally buy non estate houses but there hasnt been much movement there for a couple of years.

Martin Cooke, Nottm City Empty Homes

Hi Debbie

We still do these every year and have to offer to purchase as part of the CPO process but as we are buying by agreement we offer to pay reasonable legal fees.



Burnley Borough Council

At Bradford we have been purchasing by agreement successfully for a number of years. We tend to offer this where it would be a CPO case or where we identify a reason we think the owner will not be able to take it successfully to market-  their age, distance, poor organistaion skills, mental health issues. 

We carry out a RICS valuation and make it clear we will offer what is determined as market value but there is no obligation on the owner to accept. Those who accept see us as an honest broker and know they have saved the fees and time of engaging an estate agent or auction house. As most we buy are in a mess and usually have unwanted furniture etc inside, the owners see this as a bonus as we don't require them to clear it before sale.

We take most straight to auction once we own them , and we make on some and lose on some, but overall tend to sell for more than we paid. We think this could be something to do with the Council again being seen as an honest broker.All are sold with a restriction that the property must be renovated to meet the housing standard within 12 months and we maintain contact with the new owners throughout this time.

The budget we have for this just keeps re-circulating.

Best wishes

Lorna Frost

Environmental Helath Officer, Empty Homes Team, Bradford Council