With the number of empty properties in England at its highest level in 6 years, a business has reported a growing demand for live-in guardians and caretakers of empty residential and commercial properties.
Figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, show that the number of long-term vacant properties (i.e. properties that have been standing empty for 6 months or more) rose by 5.3% to 216,186 in the 12 months to October 2018.
This rise in empty homes is despite Government incentives to keep housing stock moving, including grants to help bring back empty properties back to life and financial penalties for empty property owners. (Local councils in England and Wales have the authority to charge up to double the amount of council tax on homes that have been empty for more than two years’ - excepting those in the Armed Forces or if the property is an annexe).
A spokesman from Homesitters Ltd, who provide live-in guardian and caretaker services, said: “There are many reasons why properties are empty. They may be awaiting a sale, going through probate or repossession, or undergoing major renovations or refurbishment. Empty properties are vulnerable to vandalism, damage and theft. Squatters can also still legally occupy commercial premises, despite it being illegal for residential properties … A live-in guardian is a cost-effective way to keep the property secure, protecting the property value and reducing insurance premiums and maintenance costs.”