What is Derelict Property?

Find out what defines a derelict property, why empty homes are bad, and how they can negatively impact local communities and property prices

Empty property

What is an empty or derelict property?

An empty or derelict property is usually defined as a property that has not been occupied for 6 months or more.

UK Government data published in November 2021 shows that more than 238,000 homes in England have been empty for more than 6 months, with over 600,000 vacant homes in total.

When you add in over 67,000 holiday homes, and 253,000 second homes, the total number of vacant properties in England alone sits at around 1 million homes. This equates to 1 in 25 properties in the UK being vacant!

How to find empty property?

It’s not all that difficult to spot an empty property. After a period of time obvious signs of neglect start to show with peeling paintwork, overgrown gardens, water damage from broken gutters and pipes, or maybe even a few broken windows.

When vacant property starts to show signs of neglect like this, it can start to have a negative impact for neighbours.

Why is empty property considered a bad thing?

When a property has been empty for a long period of time, it can start to cause problems for neighbours due to becoming the target of antisocial behaviour, including issues like vandalism, arson, and squatters. This kind of problem then starts to have a detrimental impact on the value of properties in the local area.

Why do properties become empty for a long period of time?

There are many reasons why property becomes empty, including (but not limited to) property being available for rent, a property available for sale, or maybe the property is being repaired. Sometimes the previous owner may have passed away, and the person who inherits the property can take quite some time to decide what to do with the property.

What causes an empty property to become derelict?

Properties being empty for extended periods of time can cause problems to the structure of the property, especially with things like damp and pests.

How does damp cause damage to a property?

Damp can cause extensive damage to property. The damp can eventually cause rot, which start to eat away at things like wood, and rendering. Water can also seep into metal fixings and structures, creating rust and swelling which can cause concrete and brick to crack and crumble.

When the cold Winter months kick in and that water freezes and expands, it will cause even more damage to the foundational structure and strength of the property, becoming a safety hazard and ultimately rendering the building a derelict property.