Abandoned Houses In The UK
In spite of a severe shortage of family homes, there are thousands of abandoned houses in the UK. In cities, towns and the countryside, abandoned houses are falling into ruin even as the price of property continues to rise. Homes that have been vacant long term (more than 6 months) add up to billions of pounds worth of unused property and many of these homes are in sought after locations such as country villages or seaside resorts.
There are many articles about claiming abandoned houses in the UK but although it can be done it is a difficult and drawn out procedure. Legal processes must be followed and even though many properties may be abandoned they all belong to someone. In this article, we will look at some of the issues surrounding abandoned houses in the UK.
Signs of An Abandoned House
How do you know when a house has been abandoned? There are plenty of signs that can indicate when a house has been abandoned. The property may appear to be derelict and damaged. Overgrown gardens and boarded up windows are two more indications. There may be significant damage to the roof with missing tiles or slates, vermin running around the grounds and rubbish piling up. All of these are signs that can indicate an abandoned house.
Why Are Houses Left Abandoned?
Most abandoned houses have been left vacant for financial reasons. The owner may have been unable to pay bills, afford maintenance or the property may have been left as an inheritance and there are taxes due to be paid. Personal debt is another reason why sometimes a property owner leaves an empty house and the area.
Houses that are abandoned may be located in a conservation area where development is prohibited. There could be disputes over rights of access to an abandoned house. Sometimes it is down to a mental health issue where the owner has been unable to cope with day to day life and has merely walked away.
Is There a Database of Abandoned Houses?
There are several websites that offer access to data about abandoned houses and derelict property in the UK. However, it is important to note that an abandoned property will still have an owner even if they cannot be found. The house may or may not be registered in their name but every property in the UK belongs to someone. There is no clear law about how long an empty property must stand before it is considered abandoned.
Is a House Vacant or Abandoned?
There are strong differences between a vacant property and an abandoned one. Many houses lie vacant for months at a time. The reasons for vacancies vary. Some properties are holiday homes, some belong to owners who reside overseas and some are properties that are usually let out but currently have no tenant. Even if a house looks abandoned this may be a temporary state.
Registered and Unregistered Abandoned Houses in The Uk
The Land Registry was created in 1862 and this is the place to check whether an abandoned house has a registered owner. When registration was introduced it was originally voluntary. An old abandoned property may not appear on the records because until 1925 there was no compulsory registration of property in the UK. If a property has been in the same family for many years the current owner will have an ownership deed but the property may not appear on the register.
Since 1990 any property that has changed hands will be put onto the Land Registry records. The advantage of this is clear as it provides an up to date record of ownership. However, an abandoned house may have been inherited through a long-established family and may still not be registered.