Empty home to be sold at auction to recover Council costs

Published: 20 November 2023

A hand holding an auctioneers hammer, about to bring it down on a wooden plaque to indicate a sale

The number of empty homes in Derby has declined overall due to the work of the Council’s Empty Homes team

An empty house in the city is being sold at auction this month to recover debts owed to Derby City Council.

The two-bed terraced house in Wilmorton has been unoccupied for 10 years and has fallen into a state of disrepair.

The Council stepped in to clear the garden of rubbish that was providing shelter for rats, after many attempts were made to engage with the legal owner.

The cost of the work has never been paid for, which means a sale can be enforced under The Law & Property Act 1925.

The Council defines a ‘long-term empty home’ to be a privately owned, residential property that has been vacant for six months or more. 

The number of empty homes in Derby has declined overall due to the work of the Council’s Empty Homes team. There are currently around 1200 long-term empty homes, down from 2500 in 2020.

Since 2010, Derby City Council has brought over 1400 empty homes into use and raised over £1.1million through debt recovery and earnt income.

Councillor Shiraz Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regulatory Services said:

“There can be complex reasons why a home is empty, and our aim is always to work with owners to bring properties back into use. Enforcement is a last resort, and many attempts were made to rectify the issues with the legal owner before a decision was made to put the property up for auction.

“The Council recognises the impact of properties standing empty can have, particularly when there is a shortage of affordable housing across the city. Our Empty Homes team works successfully with owners every day with great results.

“Empty properties are a wasted resource both in a practical sense, by limiting the numbers of available family homes, and also financially for the owner, where any potential income through rental or sale is lost.

“If you’re aware of a property in the city that has become empty or derelict, please do let us know.”

At their next meeting on 21 November, Cabinet will also be asked to approve plans to initiate compulsory purchase proceedings in relation to three properties that have been empty for at least four years, with a view to bringing them back into use.

Find out more about the Council’s Empty Homes strategy and help available for owners 

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