Swindon Borough Council is backing the national Empty Homes Week, which starts today and aims to highlight the problem in towns and cities up and down the country.
There are currently 294 privately-owned homes which have been empty for over a year in Swindon and fall into the 'long-term' bracket. This equates to just over 30 per cent of the total number of empty homes in the borough.
A house left empty for more than two years becomes much harder to return to occupancy than one vacant for weeks or months. And the owners of such a house will find themselves paying double council tax and much more in renovation costs. Specialist officer Sally Nelson, of the council's housing strategy and development team, said there are many reasons why a house might become empty – the owner property may have died, moved into hospital or a care home, become ill, inherited it unexpectedly, or sometimes the homes are undergoing renovation work and money runs out. She said: “People can find they don’t know what to do with a house and it becomes a problem. Often they don’t know where to start.” She said a house left empty for two years will become a significant problem, adding: “The costs of getting it back into habitable shape increase, the longer a house is left, the harder and more expensive it is to bring back.” Such houses can become the target for vandals or just start falling prey to nature. Ms Nelson said: “If some young people know there is a house empty, they will try to get into it. It can lead to anti-social behaviour or other issues.” Empty houses can become sites for vermin and gardens will become overgrown, Ms Nelson said. Ms Nelson said: “There was a house left empty and the back garden became totally overgrown. We couldn’t get into the back garden at all and there was a tree starting to grow though the windows into the house.”
Ashton Mill are here to help if you need assistance with an unoccupied property. We are registered with the environmental waste agency, which ensures that all waste is disposed of responsibly. Furthermore, we recycle and donate to charity wherever possible. We can even clean the interior of the property and tidy the garden, making it more presentable for the next occupier.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding house clearances: