Understanding the risks that a vacant property entails

A vacant property presents a number of challenges for any owner or property manager. Whether it’s the increased risk of break-ins, a higher prevalence of damp and rodents, or the risk of the property becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour – leaving a property empty can quickly result in substantial costs for an owner.

Last year alone there were 531,329 reported cases of intentional fires across the UK in unsecured and empty properties. Reported criminal activity can also damage the reputation of the safety of a community in which the property is based, negatively impacting property prices and deterring potential buyers.

There are many reasons why properties are left vacant. A property sale or rental agreement might have fallen through, there may be ongoing renovation works, or the previous owner may have died meaning it’s under probate. The length of time individuals in these circumstances may leave their homes empty usually comes down to one thing – money.

A succession of interest rate rises in the UK have resulted in higher mortgage costs for landlords, leading to an influx of seeking to sell their rental properties. Statistics revealed that landlords selling their properties rose by 13% in 2022. But with mortgage rates rising and buyer affordability impacted, selling can be a challenge and many properties can be left empty for prolonged periods.

When it comes to securing vacant properties, property guardianship is increasingly regarded as a more effective solution than traditional security guard services. Property guardians are individuals who occupy vacant properties on a temporary basis, providing an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional security measures.

While there are some simple steps that property owners can do to support them in maintaining an empty property, for owners who want greater peace of mind while making cost savings,  property guardianship is a novel solution for empty property security.

Rather than paying for a traditional security guard service which can be expensive, property guardians occupy vacant properties for a significantly lower cost. Guardians can be on site 24/7, making them ideal for properties with irregular hours of use. Property guardians are often required to occupy properties for a minimum amount of time, but their tenancy can be extended or shortened depending on the property owner’s requirements.

Tackling the epidemic of empty housing across the UK is an issue that has come to the fore, with the cost of living crisis and rising inflation impacting rents and property prices rise. Property guardianship offers an innovative solution to bring vacant housing back into use, with guardian housing providing property owners with a cost effective method to secure empty property and opening the door to affordable housing options for key workers and young professionals.