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Case Study – Pauline’s Story – The impact of empty homes on communities

Below is a clip from Pauline’s story. In it she talks about the impact on her mental health of living next door to an empty property for over 2 decades. The issues ranged from water ingress to her own property, to overgrown foliage extending into her garden. 

Pauline told SEHAS “I can’t take much more; Please I beg you to help me. I don’t have the means to go to lawyers and pay large legal bills.”

This property had been brought to the EHO’s attention, who had been attempting to engage with the owner. We can report that this property has now been sold at auction after 22 years of being empty, with the intention of now bringing it back into use. 

While this case is extreme, it is not isolated. Last year, 27% of calls to our advice service came from anxious neighbours struggling with a property in their local community. Enforcement of disrepair or statutory nuisance provisions will only deal with the symptoms of an empty property, when neighbours are understandably seeking reassurance that action can be taken to alleviate their situation or at least stop it from getting worse.