We were contacted by an owner who had recently purchased a property not realising how long it had been empty or what support was available. Thanks to their contact with SEHAS they learned of VAT discounts and received support from their local EHO to evidence the property had in fact been empty for 8 years.
Case study – Supporting a community affected by long term stuck property
SEHAS received multiple complaints over 3 years about a property that has been empty for over 20 years, in an area of high demand. With no EHO we supported neighbours to liaise with the local authority. The home has continued to deteriorate and is now an eyesore, causing considerable blight.
Building standards, environmental health and community wardens have been involved as well as the police due to a recent break in. This is all additional cost to the public purse.
Whilst its poor condition has been acknowledged, no action can be taken under existing legislation to force the owner to act. It is understood the unoccupied premium is in place and is being paid. The whereabouts of the owner are known, and numerous attempts to engage with the owner have been unsuccessful.
SEHAS continues to work with a wider community member in bringing neighbours together and has provided a template letter for them to contact elected representatives. This is a test case for our work in improving the service offered to neighbours.
As this case shows often neighbours feel frustrated
with no clear understanding of why action can’t be taken, or what action they can take, while properties continue to deteriorate. An extract from one neighbour’s account below.