In every town you’ll pass a street with an empty house, and the reason for its lack of use may not be clear to those who live close by. You may have inherited the property, or purchased it to let but not yet got around to making the upgrades required. No matter the reason for your home sitting vacant, we want to stress why you should never neglect an empty property in Wokingham.
You’re not alone
Your property is one of a growing number of empty homes across England. According to statistics published in May this year by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), there were 634,453 empty homes in October 2018. This is an increase of 4.7% on the previous year, and 216,186 of those empty homes have been empty for six months or longer.
Although you have your reasons to leave your property in Wokingham standing empty, at Quarters Residential we want to highlight the possible risks.
Rain or shine
This summer has certainly shown that, when it comes to the British weather, anything is possible. Wind, rain and snow can all cause serious damage to a property. Then there’s the unexpected, such as random flooding, and, more recently, the events in Whaley Bridge. Even if your house is not on a flood plain, a cold weather snap could freeze the pipes, leaving the home at risk of severe water damage due to a burst pipe.
Most thieves are opportunists, and an empty home is likely to become a target not just for theft but also vandalism. What’s more, if you don’t regularly visit your property you may fall victim of such a crime and not even be aware of its occurrence. You could also find yourself a victim of fraud should you have post sent to that address, as your letters may contain details that would allow someone to commit a fraudulent act.
Whilst empty, your home could catch the attention of squatters. We’re sure you have read some of the heart-breaking stories where decent homes have been broken into and occupied by squatters. We would never want this to happen to your property, as evictions are difficult and also costly.
There are yet other unwanted visitors that may also start to make your property their home. Brickwork gaps and damaged pipework allow little creatures to find their way inside and, if left undisturbed, rats and mice can live quite happily. You may not even know they’re there until they emerge looking for food and leave traces behind.
To remain in a good state of repair, every home needs some love and attention. Depending on the condition of the property prior to being left empty, it may require more extensive maintenance. Period properties are likely to need more upkeep than their contemporary counterparts, but in all cases a property left empty will start to deteriorate over time.
The more your home deteriorates, the greater the costs will be to bring it back to a good state of repair for its new occupants. If you’re a landlord, anything that puts added pressure on your finances will be of a concern, which is why leaving your property empty is not in your best interests, especially if it’s not making you any income at present.
Another thing you may not have considered is that, should your home be empty for two years or more, you could be charged up to double your Council Tax.
No doubt you see your property as a financial investment for you and your family, from which you hope to see a profitable outcome in the future. Yet leaving your property standing vacant can actually see it decrease in value, due to neglecting maintenance and the resulting poor presentation of the property.
It’s not only your home that you could be devaluing, but also those of your neighbours. Should the condition of a property start to show externally, it could become an eyesore on the street and therefore impact the value of the homes that surround it. Also be aware that, if physical issues in your property, such as dry rot and damp, begin to spread to your neighbours, they have the right to take action against you for causing a Private Nuisance under The Environmental Protection Act 1990.
We’re here to support empty home owners in Wokingham. If you want to find out the real benefits of letting your property, let us give you an honest appraisal. Instead of seeing your pennies falling down the drain whilst your property sits vacant, we can help you turn your home into one that makes you a profit. Give us a call on 0118 466 0292 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org