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Why are there so many vacant houses in the UK?

In a time where many people are finding it difficult to get on the housing ladder, you may be surprised to learn that this issue is not necessarily down to the lack of housing. In fact, there are homes in the UK; it’s just that a large amount of them are being left vacant and allowed to decline into an unsuitable condition.

Of course, there is a housing shortage in the UK, but surely bringing these vacant properties back into use would help ease the situation slightly.

Why are homes being left empty?

In 2015, the BBC got hold of government statistics that revealed that there are over 610,000 empty homes in England alone, and over 205,000 of these have been empty for six months or longer.

The organisation then went on to interview a leading property expert who said that the cost of performing maintenance tasks to a home could far outweigh the amount that the landlord would receive in rent – meaning it makes financial sense to leave the home vacant.

The buy-to-leave practice is also making the situation worse. This is where property investors purchase a home and then leave it. This is quite a common method used by foreign investors because they would either prefer to use the property while they are in the UK or wait until the value of the home has increased so they can sell it at a profit.

Many of these investors are incredibly rich, so they would not be deeply affected by the rent they would miss out on. In fact, they may even find themselves out of pocket if they did rent the property out because they would have to pay for maintenance, repairs and a property management firm to take care of the home on their behalf.

Probate homes are contributing to the situation

The Mirror interviewed a property renovator who said that probate homes make up around 90% of vacant UK properties. This is a staggering percentage, but, sometimes, this situation is unavoidable. If someone has been left a property in a will, that home can usually not be sold until probate has been granted – meaning the property will be left empty until the process has been completed.

Probate gives the executor of the will the right to pass the property to beneficiaries or sell it if no-one has been named. However, if there is no will, the beneficiaries cannot be traced or there is a family dispute over who gets the property, then this can all delay the sale – meaning the house will be left to rot until all of these issues have been sorted out.

Even if the property has been passed to a beneficiary, then there is no guarantee the property will be filled. Taking on a probate property is a long and expensive process, and many people struggle to afford the renovations. This situation means that the property cannot be lived in or rented out because it’s unsuitable. If you’d rather get a cash sum for your probate home, then make sure you contact Probate Purchasers.

They will purchase your home regardless of its condition – meaning you will not have to go through the stress of maintaining and cleaning it before putting it on the market.