I have seen a house I would really like to buy but it has been empty for years and no-one seems to know who owns it. How do I find out who owns it?
The two main sources of information are the Land Registry and the Local Authority. The Land Registry will only be able to advise you of the Registered Proprietor of the title to the property provided, of course, this property has been registered in the first place.
This will only have taken place if there has been a dealing with the title to the property since the date on which the area became an area of compulsory registration under the Land Registration Act. For example, in the case of Cardiff, this was 1974.
If there has been no dealing with the property since before that date then the title to the property will remain unregistered and there will be no “Register” from which you can identify the current owner.
The other alternative is the Local Authority. The property should be on the Local Authority’s Rating List and someone should be responsible for the payment of rates. If rates are not being paid then someone may well have applied for an exemption. I believe councils do hold a register of properties the ownership of which is genuinely unknown and it might be well worth approaching them.
Finally, try the neighbours – a substantial amount of information can often be gleaned from people living next door.