Open and derelict properties
Why are houses left empty?
Private sector houses may be left empty for a number of years, despite the benefits of that property being occupied. Reasons for a property being empty include:
- the owner in hospital, in residential care or in prison
- the owner has died and there is a subsequent dispute over ownership
- the owner has died and the next-of-kin cannot be traced.
- the house has been repossessed
- the owner is unable to pay to repair the property because of financial difficulties
- the owner wants to leave the property to his/her children to deal with after they have died.
How can I tell if a house has been empty for a long time?
Although it cannot always be easy to say for certain that a house has been empty for a period of time, assumptions can be made in circumstances where:
- the property is boarded up or has metal screens over the doors and windows
- no-one is ever seen entering or leaving the property
- overgrown front and back gardens
- rubbish dumped in the front or back of the property
- pests and vermin in the neighbouring properties
- evidence of squatting or illegal activities
- visual appearance of the house, e.g. holes in the roof, broken windows and doors.
What do I do if I suspect that a house is empty?
If you suspect that a privately owned property has been left unoccupied contact the empty property service on tel: 020 7926 0378.
If you are aware of a council owned home that has been empty for a period of time, please contact Lambeth Living.
Tel: 020 7926 6000
Address: Lambeth Service Centre, PO Box 41091,
London, SW2 1XZ