By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Empty Homes Scandal - TV property guru on the warpath

Homes Under The Hammer property expert Lucy Alexander is fronting a new campaign to identify empty homes and bring them back into use.

She is the lead person on a campaign by mortgage lender Together which claims that the latest figures, as of the end of 2023, show that Greater London is the region with the highest volume of abandoned and derelict homes, with nearly 290,000 standing completely empty. 

In total, these empty properties are worth over £180 billion and making them available to first time buyers and home movers could play a major part in easing the UK’s growing housing crisis.


The study also identifies the scale of crumbling civic and commercial buildings across the UK – the ‘Hidden Gems’ which could be given a new lease of life as housing - following government proposals in recent weeks to cut red tape.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has pledged that developers will be able to convert shops, offices, and other commercial buildings into homes without full planning permission, with the changes resulting in tens of thousands of homes being built every year in England’s 20 largest regional cities.

A national survey by Together found 77% of respondents who have abandoned or derelict buildings in their local city agreed that redeveloping these sites would revitalise the local community and create more jobs with 67% feeling the spaces are a waste of valuable land and development potential.

Some 43% of UK adults admitted they witness an abandoned commercial or civic building at least weekly - 17% every day. Meanwhile, more than one in five (21%) admitted walking past or seeing an abandoned residential building at least weekly - 8% do this daily.

Alexander says: “During my time with Homes Under The Hammer, very often the homes we were filming for the show would be derelict and left untouched and unloved for years. I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of seeing these abandoned properties taken on by those who aren’t shy of a challenge and want to transform a unique property into a home.

“So many people just don’t think these types of buildings are accessible which is why Together’s Hidden Gems campaign is so important – shining a light on the vast opportunities across the country and how to secure the financing needed to complete these amazing projects.”

The top three regions where the volume of empty properties is rising the highest since 2021 is led by the South West of England at 20%, the East of England at 16% and East Midlands at 15%.

Looking at property type, the London Boroughs combined have the most detached homes with 9,199 worth £11.5 billion. At the Local Authority level however, Cornwall is the detached vacant home capital with 9,180 detached houses with a value of £4.2 billion.

For semi-detached homes it’s Birmingham with 4,721 empty properties worth £1.2 billion and while County Durham has the highest volume of terraced homes at 7,472 worth £757m. Westminster holds the highest volume of empty flats and apartments at 33,102, worth £27 billion.

Elliot Vure, corporate director at Together, adds: “Fixing the UK housing crisis has been a long-standing and thorny problem for successive Governments. What is needed is a more joined-up approach. There should be a long-term strategy to encourage homebuyers and rental investors to bring back to life the hundreds of thousands empty homes across the UK’s regions. And, while we welcome moves to relax planning restrictions to enable more commercial-to-residential developments, there needs to be greater access to funding for what can often be complex projects.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, through our Hidden Gems we hope to open doors to potential homebuyers, investors, and developers to make sure they have access to finance, support through Government policies and incentives to achieve their ambitions.”

Want to comment on this story? Our focus is on providing a platform for you to share your insights and views and we welcome contributions.
If any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.
Please help us by reporting comments you consider to be unduly offensive so we can review and take action if necessary. Thank you.

  • icon

    Alternative headline: Woman gets new part-time job.😂

    Now IF she was as clever as she thinks she is, she would KNOW why landlords are not investing in more property. The generation that would buy doer-uppers are getting older and would only buy to resell. CGT changes make that unattractive and anti-landlord rhetoric deters landlords. Still, it is extra income for her and she is not getting any younger either. 😉


    She used to present Milkshake! on Channel 5 as a kids TV presenter. She grew up to front a housing show asking the same old questions every week with lots of smiles etc. Nothing to see here...

  • icon

    Sounds like a witch hunt directed at landlords who don't have the confidence to let their properties because of the legal uncertainty surrounding letting arrangements.

  • icon

    They appear clueless as to why we are leaving them empty 🫣🫣🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️ Fools.

  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    Wilful ignorance from lefty Utopians.
    Some "has-been" tv presenter trying to get some exposure.

  • icon

    Many are forced to leave their property vacant by some Boroughs saying you can’t let without a license but Councils taking 8 to 16 months to deal with your Application while the property stands idle and Letting Agent's refuse to take it on I have first hand experience of that even though licensed 3 times before and Application made before previous one expired this is no isolated incident and their website says immediately the property has no license, some stitch up.

  • icon

    I can se where LUCKY is coming from looking after the Big Boys and Developers also moving into PRS with their Commercial Buildings to be turned into Residential virtually no Planning Permission Required just tick a few boxes is it currently vacant etc also applicable to Shops, Banks and pubs. “PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS “ get rid of us by unfair tactics to make room.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    Sounds and smells like an advert ..!

  • Nic  Kaz

    Empty properties are a literal waste of space. It can’t be a bad thing to review why they are empty and encourage redevelopment, just as long as it’s not ever made compulsory.

  • icon

    She’s only advocating getting empty homes done up. (Some not nice comments on this post people)

    If a property is truly empty then If the council did their job it would be brought back to use faster. I’ve personally notified them on empty properties with the usual oh it will take years before we can do anything line.


    She is, no doubt, being paid well by this mortgage lender. If you read these comments you will KNOW that some landlords are keeping their properties empty or selling them?

    As for, "I’ve personally notified them on empty properties", do you know why they are empty? Probate, owner in a care home, landlord unwilling to sell in the current anti-landlord climate.

    "Not nice comments" - well you must be a delicate flower! I have seen and posted, worse.


    Oh did you think my comment was directed at you personally Annoyed


    Jahan - I took your comments to be general, not aimed at me.


    Take a chill pill Annoyed. We are on the same side re the Landlord business.
    FYI I am possibly nearly as annoyed as yourself as I watch nearly 40 yrs of work going up in smoke putting roofs over peoples heads because of lefties, gov, local gov interference


    Jahan, Read my comment again. There is no need for me to take any pill other than those preescribed by my doctor and no, none of them are for high blood pressure! LOL


    That’s good to hear. Health is true wealth. Don’t let the b**tards grind you down. I might change my forum name to ‘Persecuted Landlord’ 😄

  • icon

    The bigger question is how many of these derelict properties are owned by social landlords or councils. This would be interesting to see


    A large number of them I would think


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up