How to rescue an empty house

October 17, 2012

Landlords Insurance

If you are a landlord looking to add to your property portfolio, you might want to consider an empty and dilapidated property rather than buying another type*.

If this thought fills you with horror, you might wish to read on.

Empty and dilapidated properties

The first thing to remember is that the words empty and dilapidated do not necessarily mean the same thing.

A property might be sitting empty and unsold for any one of a number of reasons.

Perhaps properties in the surrounding area are a little run down or it might be that the area is not particularly fashionable (meaning that it might be in future though).

The key point here is that the property may be structurally sound and inside, perhaps even in relatively good order.  You won’t know unless you look, so try not to be put off by the fact it has been standing empty for some period of time.


Some landlords hesitate at the thought of buying a slightly dilapidated property because they overestimate just how much it might cost to put it back into good letting order.

Of course, it is equally important not to underestimate the costs involved but providing the bricks and mortar are structurally sound then you may be amazed at what as little as £5,000 or £10,000 might be able to do to change the entire appearance and internals of a once dilapidated-looking property.


If a property has remained empty and unsold for a period, it is a fair bet that the owners may be amenable to an offer considerably below their published asking price.

This might be a considerably cheaper route than buying an occupied, totally refurbished property or waiting for a new build to come along – particularly in the case of the latter, when considering the current economic environment.

Local council renovation assistance

While it is true that central government funds for this have now largely dried up, some local councils are still desperate to try and encourage property and area regeneration and they might be willing to offer a contribution towards your costs.

It costs you nothing to ask!

Buy to let mortgages

It has to be admitted that some lenders are particularly wary of properties that are empty and which have been so for some time.

Once again, perseverance will be required.  It is also worth remembering that if you do purchase such a property, you may need to get an unoccupied property insurance quote to cover you until such time as it is refurbished and occupied by your tenants.

Finally, in spite of all the potential advantages of this type of property, do remember to be sure that you understand the exact reason why it is standing empty. In some cases, the cause may be one that might also seriously inhibit your ability to let it in due course.




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