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Can You Sell a Derelict House or Claim One UK

Our guide to a derelict property sale

Derelict House

Derelict properties are more common than you think, whether you’ve inherited a property or it’s your second property and left it in a terrible state. Across the UK, hundreds of thousands of properties lay empty with no residents or are too unsafe to live in, known as derelict properties.

If you have a derelict property and are unsure of your options, we’re here to help. Selling a derelict property is possible, and here’s our guide to everything you need to know and how to make a derelict property sale.

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What is an old derelict house?

A derelict house is an older, abandoned property with specific criteria. It’s generally flagged as derelict if the property includes severe exterior or indoor damage, such as broken windows. It’s essentially a deserted property, left to deteriorate over time.

Since 2022 property owners no longer have any legal obligation to keep any specific standard of maintenance for their abandoned house that they have claimed. This means the property can be completed derelict and ruined with no repercussions.

There are many classifications of a derelict property, including:

●       A neglectful level of disrepair

●       A vacant property for an extended period

●       The current condition is unsafe and uninhabitable

Derelict houses range from small bungalows to larger houses and commercial buildings. Whatever the size, the things they have in common are the negligent state with substantial repairs and restorations required.

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What is a semi derelict property UK?

A semi derelict home is a property that has visible signs of damage/ wear and tear. The damage is not anywhere near as bad as a fully abandoned house however if you look to buy one you will have to do considerable renovations to get it back to what it was.

If you're an property investor, buying a house or just selling your house you may have stumbled upon a auction website before. These auction websites sell all types of properties and one of those properties may have been a semi derelict property.

Selling these properties will be a lot harder than a regular home, since it is abandoned you will be looking at selling it to potential investors and renovators that have the money to put it back into shape. If you're struggling to sell a derelict property, we will take it off your hands as fast as possible no matter the condition!

Why do houses become derelict?

There are many different reasons as to why an abandoned house is left derelict. Often you will find derelict houses are left because of financial problems, location issues, structural issues or extensive repairs.

Other issues such as repossession proceedings, insolvency, inheritance problems, insolvency or even environmental problems can all be big factors as to why people give up on their property and leave it to rot.

These issues for the past property owner are often to be the reason why the property is left baron for so long but one persons junk can be another persons treasure. Claiming an abandoned house and selling it fast can be a very profitable way to make quick money if you get your hands on it.

Whatever the situation, these are the most common causes of derelict property in detail:

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Financial troubles with the owner

Maintaining a property is expensive, especially if the property is older and requires more upkeep than most. Whether it’s simple indoor jobs, preventing water damage or ensuring the structure is in suitable shape for a resident to live there. If the property owner has financial problems, they can’t meet the costs of home repairs.

Many reasons cause financial instability, such as job loss, debt or recession. These reasons can mean the owner has no choice but to leave the property to deteriorate and for repossession.

The owner dies without heirs or goes into long-term care.

If the owner no longer lives in the property due to death or long-term care, the house will deteriorate over time. However, the rightful heirs receive the property if their relative has passed. The issue arises when there’s no heir, and the property stays vacant without a responsible person. Over time, it’s only natural that the property will wear down and develop costly issues.

A similar situation is if the owner goes into long-term care and has nobody to look after their home. Without house maintenance, utilities may be shut off and then without heating, the house can become damp and decline in other ways.

Issues with a lack of tenants or stubborn owners

For those who own a property and don’t live in it, the sensible thing to consider is having tenants live in the building to care for it and call it home. However, some owners may refuse to let the property out for many reasons, such as waiting for the market to improve before making repairs or redecoration.

Alternatively, an owner may want to rent their property but can’t find suitable tenants. Considering this, the owner may not see the point in maintaining the property as they’re not making additional income from it - and allow deterioration.

Structural and severe damage deeming the property unsafe to live in

If the property is unsafe or inhabitable, you’re less likely to sell the property for value or gain financially. For example, severe structural issues, such as flooded foundations, make the property too expensive to repair and cause the owner to walk away. The lack of care and repairs aid the derelict process, resulting in an abandoned family home.

Too long on the housing market

If a landlord wants to sell their property, they often want it to happen fast, to buy another property or to gain financially. Some properties take years to sell due to housing market conditions, marketing of the house and inaccurate pricing. These reasons can encourage the owner to walk away and neglect their property.

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What’s the difference between an abandoned house and unoccupied house?

The difference between abandoned and unoccupied houses is the simple fact of is there a person living in the property. An abandoned house typically implies the house has been left derelict without any inhabitants, and will show obvious signs of damage or other issues. Derelict property suggests that the owners have just left it and not returned or have constant interest in the property.

Whereas, an unoccupied house is very different, this property could be in the most pristine and structurally sound condition. However just like an abandoned house it has no residence. The intention is for this to be temporary as the owner still looks after the property. Unoccupied houses can be well-maintained and may be vacant for a number of different reasons such as a temporary relocation, renovation, or waiting for a new tenant to apply for rent.

The key difference is the state of maintenance, and the intended duration of vacancy.

Are derelict houses dangerous?

Yes it can be very dangerous, it all is depending on the structural state of the abandoned home. If it has significant structural damage that could lead to walls and roofs falling down then this is a significant safety hazard.

Here is a list of dangerous hazards you could face in and abandoned property that you will need to be cautious of when entering:

Structural issues

Structural issues can cause walls and roofs to collapse as previously mentioned, this is a serious hazard of being crushed or having things land on your head causing damage

Environmental damage

Damage from previous storms or fires can cause damage within the house that makes it unsafe. Damp can cause wood to erode and easily break making falling hazard and other dangers.

Fire damage can cause sharp objects to be left around with possible dangers from all angels. it is important to watch where you step when entering.

Flammable material

Materials left behind that could be easily set on fire are a serious hazard to take note of as just like environmental damage it can cause obstructions and dangers everywhere you step

Fences and un-kept garden

With long grass you dont know what is on the floor when stepping through it or trying to cut through it, glass, tools or even toys left behind could be stood on causing injury.

Fences that are not tightly secure could fall over at any point.

Falling tiles

When the roof has not been maintained any gust of wind could blow down possible tiles from the ceiling causing dangers from above.

Unstable chimneys

Chimneys at risk of collapse could cause a problem throughout the entire house and once it falls it could cause other hazards by affecting the whole structure.

How to sell a run-down house? 

There are a few routes to selling a derelict house through estate agents, public auctions or online property-buying companies like us.

Before you go ahead and sell the property through any means, seek professional advice from a chartered surveyor to see if your property is habitable and the options you have to sell the property.

However, if you don't want to take that route, you can be honest about the state of the property’s condition to potential investors, such as buyers looking for a renovation project. Investors may be interested in the property in its current state if they see potential in location and value or planning permission for demolition.

Selling an abandoned house through an estate agent

If you’d like to sell your property without repair or restoration, an estate agent can help you with selling your property smoothly and of legitimate value. Estate agents specialise in many areas of house selling, and for a derelict property, you should look for an estate agent specialising in selling run-down properties. They can help market your property correctly, do the relevant inspections and help find a suitable cash buyer, working closely with you to monitor the process. The appropriate buyer will happily accept the property in its current condition and deal with any potential legal fees and work required to get the property up to scratch again.

Selling a derelict home through public auction

Auctions are a practical way for investors to find their next renovation project. Before the auction, you’ll need to prepare the property for sale with the legalities and clearing to make it available for viewing. Also, if the property is a health and safety risk, such as roof damage or holes in the building, you need to make the auction house aware.

Auction houses will charge you a set fee to put your house up for sale, and you’re likely to increase in income rather than decrease. You’ll need to decide on your reserve price, which is the lowest selling price of the property, and then it’s down to the auction room to find a price suitable for them. Ensure your price is realistic to increase the chances of selling your home.

Selling derelict property for cash online

We specialise in buying properties for cash, and if you’re looking to sell your home fast, we purchase your home in a minimum of seven days. Our process begins with filling in all the relevant questions about your property, including the location, type and contact details online. We use local data to compare prices and analyse your property, providing the most accurate price.

We’ll contact you with an offer and provide an inspection to ensure your description is accurate. We’ll organise all the legal fees and the tedious steps involving selling a property, making the process easy for you.

Selling my property in disrepair

When you run into the hurdle of knowing your property is in disrepair and you no longer want to put money into it and invest in a full renovation, then it is time to cash in!

There are many different strategies to selling your house in disrepair, the first thing you should do is to seek advice from professionals who have experience in this field. Advice from structural engineers will help you get an understanding of the complexity of your house situation.

Another way to sell it is through us! if you can't afford to renovate or you simply don't have the time then do not stress. We will purchase your property in disrepair quickly and stress free. We can purchase it in 7 days no matter what house condition your property has been left in.

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Claiming an abandoned house in the UK

Can you claim an abandoned house in the uk? yes you can.

Claiming an abandoned house in the UK can be a complex and challenging process especially when you don't know where to start or what to do. Generally, by just staying in the abandoned property without the owner's consent doesn't grant you ownership, it is not that simple. The legal owner will hold the title until you ask for a formal transfer of ownership and that gets handed over. However, possession laws in the UK, also known as squatter's rights, can allow someone to claim the house when they have been occupying the property without the owner's objection for a specified period.

If you stay in it for 10 or 12 years then you will have the chance to gain ownership of the abandoned property. It is important to understand that this requires meeting criteria, that would be maintaining the property and fixing faults, paying property taxes and all other expenses and finally proving continuous and uninterrupted occupation.

To claim an abandoned house in the UK, you should seek legal advice to understand the specific laws behind your claims and explore potential risks. Contacting the legal owner will be important to negotiate a possible transfer of ownership. Professional guidance will go a long way in the help to claim the derelict house, they can help navigate the legal side and increase the chances of a successful claim.

How do you spot an abandoned house in the UK?

To spot an abandoned house is easy, if you notice a property that looks worn down and have a neglected appearance. You could look for unattended posts that have built up over years, engage with neighbours and ask around for advice on the property. You could consult with the hm land registry and ask for access to know who the owner is, or lastly contacting the local council for more information on the house.

If you're looking for abandoned or neglected properties, looking through auction websites will be your best bet to buy one as often they get auctioned off at a lower market value.

Risks of claiming an abandoned house

Claiming an abandoned house is a very long process and can come with risks, these risks could be very simply the owner coming back and wanting full ownership again which would be the worst outcome for you as now you have wasted your time on a property you cant get a hold of.

Local authorities could seize it, this is all depending on paperwork, the last owner and how you're controlling the derelict property.

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Can you buy an abandoned House UK?

You can purchase an abandoned home in the UK, but it comes with its set of possible set backs and challenges.

One way to buy an abandoned house is from the original owner. Abandoned properties often lack clear ownership, have legality issues and often require extensive renovations. Identifying the legal owner and negotiating a sale is the fastest way to a direct derelict house sale. However, the owner may be difficult to locate or unresponsive or was not want to sell at all which is a killer.

Despite the hassle, buying an abandoned house in the UK is possible with a lot of investment, effort, and resources. Renovating abandoned properties can be time consuming and hard for one singular person but worth it in the end.

Another way to buy derelict homes is through the auction, auctions often sell these types of houses everyday however they do have a high competition.

How to secure a derelict home?

Securing a derelict house can be hard especially because of the damage it has sustained prior to your arrival.

The best way to secure your house from other humans, weather, animals and theft would be by protecting all windows and doors and making sure they are tightly secured, this will help keep out any unwanted visitors. Don't leave any valuable tools in the property and set up cameras around the house, this will keep safety secure, you could go as far to install safety systems inside the house.

Emptying waste will keep out any unwanted little rodents and animals from getting in and causing chaos on your land. Finally keeping up appearance will help keep people away as it will look more secure and harder to break into.

Insuring an abandoned property

Securing insurance for an abandoned property can be a hard and in some case near impossible, as many traditional insurance providers do not cover any high-risk properties.

Abandoned properties are often the target for theft, vandalism, and damage due to neglect. Insurance companies may view them as potential high risk because of the constant lack of regular maintenance and people living in the property. You can get insurance that are specifically for abandoned properties, they often cover risks that are specific to the property and how it was left derelict, but they come at a big cost. To obtain insurance, the new or old owner will need to provide information about the property's condition and how bad the damage is.

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Best place to sell a derelict house fast

Buying a derelict property may require special permission if you’re looking to renovate or demolish the property, and it may be a costly process to make the house livable again.

With that in mind, those interested in buying a derelict property are investors, whether they buy and sell homes or seek a new project. Investors can include wealthy hobbyists, cash-rich developers or those keen for a new DIY project. There may also be buyers interested in the property’s land and want to demolish the home to use the land for other purposes, such as a golf course or a hotel.

Whoever the buyer, there’s always a potential market for a derelict property to make the best of a neglectful situation.

Are you planning to sell your home fast? Our team of expert cash buyers handle the entire process of selling your home, including solicitor costs. We can advise on your property's value and help with a smooth sales process.

With a flexible approach, we choose a suitable completion date with you and a sale within seven days minimum. Contact our team today and see how we can help you sell your property quickly

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Joe McCorry

Joe is our SEO Specialist that helps produce and develop content. He enjoys finding out about all the new property trends and learning about the property market.

Selling a Derelict House?We buy any house in any condition!
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