Meet Muhammad Uddin, who will be working here at Finders International to help local authorities tackle the empty homes crisis.

In 2019, there was a rise in the numbers of long-term empty homes for the third year in a row, according to Action on Empty Homes. That figure stands at just over a quarter of a million at 226,000.

Nationally, some 85,000 families (including 126,000) are in unsuitable and over-crowded temporary accommodation, which costs the taxpayer £1 billion a year, according to the organisation.

London ‘grim picture’

Evidence from London shows a particularly grim picture. The ‘buy to leave’ scandal and ‘home banking’ by developers unwilling to sell completed new homes into a market badly affected by Brexit jitters, saw a rise of 11 percent in empty homes; while outer London saw a rise of 9 percent.

Across London, nearly 25,000 homes lie long-term empty while thousands sleep on the streets and some 80,000 children of school age lack a permanent home. London councils spend £600 million a year of the national £1 billion that is spent on temporary accommodation.

Muhammad previously worked in housing for 17 years and has both social housing and private sector experience. His most recent employee was with local government in Leicestershire where he worked as an empty homes officer, and successfully brought 196 empty properties back into use.

Property empty for 12 years

In one case, he returned a property that had been sitting empty for 12 years back into use. The council who were dealing with this property only had one piece of information to work from – a forwarding address.

Despite his best efforts to initiate contact with the empty property owner, he received no response and therefore proceeded with enforcement action. Alongside this, he referred the case to Finders International to help with finding the owner of the property.

Finders International did the investigation work and provided him with a forwarding address of the owner within a few days. He then established contact with the owner to organise the property to be sold at auction, resulting in the council withdrawing all enforcement action and preventing potential costs being incurred. The council was also able to recover years of unpaid council tax.

Family home

Furthermore, the once empty property was purchased by a local family who renovated the house to let out as a family home.

Muhammad has experience dealing with all empty homes related issues within the private sector, working in partnership with home owners, carrying out property inspections for housing standards, the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) property inspections, and offering grants and property maintenance advice to property owners.

Muhammad also managed acquisition with annual budget of between £10m used to purchase empty properties and properties on the market to deal with the housing shortage councils face.

He said: “I am delighted to be working at Finders International and, with my experience of working in local authority empty homes, I’m looking forward to assisting colleagues at local authorities in tackling the challenges of dealing with empty properties.”

If you would like any further information on our services or to arrange an appointment, please email Muhammad Uddin via [email protected] or you can call him directly on +44(0) 20 3940 0089