According to statistics published by the Ministry of Housing in 2020, there are 648,114 vacant properties in England. 238,306 of these are long-term vacancies. This is amid a housing crisis, leaving many communities with strong feelings about disused properties.
A number of these properties are owned by public bodies that in many cases, don’t have the funding necessary to put them all to use. Security for these buildings costs upwards of £100,000 but leaving them unsecured can cause risks to public health, the surrounding buildings, and can incur even more fees.
In many populated areas, vacant properties are magnets for anti-social behaviour and squatting. Many are targets of arson attacks, break-ins and criminal activity.
As a property owner, you also have a duty of care to anyone that enters the property regardless of whether they have permission to be inside or not. This can lead to hefty court fees, accidental damage cover and increased insurance costs.
Insurance is already far more expensive for an empty building.
There are also many other problems that can arise when a building is left empty…
- 1 in 6 empty properties are at risk of flooding.
- Legal fees to remove a single squatter start at £5000. In 2020, the government estimated that there were around 20,000 squatters illegally occupying a building at any time.
- There are over 9000 fires in unoccupied buildings every year.
The risks associated with not securing a vacant property mean that many require at least some level of protection. But with so many now referred to as “dead spaces” by many UK citizens, it may seem difficult to picture life within these properties.
We recently took on a building for Kensington and Chelsea Council. It’s a 4-bedroom townhouse that had previously been a family home. The client had trusted an external contractor to rent the building out, however, the contractor had decided to sub-let individual rooms for extra profit.
Once the client was made aware of the situation, they knew it would have to be dealt with. This building had caused our client serious headaches. They dealt with the stresses of removing tenants who were now illegally occupying the property, the legal fees associated, as well as then having to secure the building.
After we received the signed proposal, we immediately started viewings with great interest from our pool of Guardians. This was at no cost to the client. The property will likely be filled immediately following the first viewing, meaning local working professionals will have an affordable home and our client no longer has to be concerned about squatters or break-ins.
There are solutions to these problems, and as the leading provider of Guardianship services, we can assist many public bodies and individual landlords when securing their vacant properties.
It starts with real working people and finding the right Guardians for a space who will endeavour to protect the building in return for an affordable place to live.
If you have an empty building that could do with a people-first approach, contact us today by calling us on 02038189100.