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In an ideal scenario, probate properties will be taken over by the family and dealt with promptly. Upholding the properties condition. However, this is far from the reality we face. Of course, most of the time properties are easily handed to close family aware of the estate. But what of those properties where the owner has no close family? These estates are often referred to the Bona vacantia list where probate research firms can locate families. But in some instances, estates become lost and properties become abandoned, for months, even years.

Why does a property become abandoned?

There are numerous reasons why properties can become abandoned. Believe it or not, we get abandoned properties referred to us assuming the owner has passed away, but upon further investigation they are very much alive, living somewhere else, and are happy to just let their property rot.

However, the common reason for an abandoned property is that the owner has passed away. If the deceased has no close family or friends, they can remain in the property for some time after passing. Even after the deceased has been removed councils make very little effort to trace next of kin. They may post the name on their council website or the Bona Vacantia list but if family cannot be traced and contacted, the property will remain vacant for years.

Different kinds of abandoned properties

In this industry we have seen our share of probate properties. Some clean and tidy but most of the time they are barely held together. A portion of the probate properties we clear are hoarder houses. Sometimes filled to the ceilings with clutter.

Hoarder houses tend to be the very worst we deal with. This is due to the nature of items hoarded. You may jovially call yourself a hoarder for keeping old clothes and items you no longer use, but hoarding is a serious condition that results in the resident not wanting to part with anything. This can include, old newspapers, general rubbish, human waste, and even animal remains. We truly have seen it all. Due to this, the property is practically in ruin before it even has a chance to be impacted by abandonment.

The impact of empty properties?

But what of the properties that were in good condition before the owner died? This is where the work of property clearance can become quite sad. Many people take massive amounts of pride in their home, so it is upsetting seeing it go to ruin after they pass.  However, this comes part and parcel with properties becoming abandoned with no one caring for the home. Properties we have visited after years of neglect have been infested with an array of vermin and pests. Including one property recently with a colony of rats, destroying the property further.

There is also the human impact on said properties. For instance, squatters and trespassers can cause considerable damage and lead to further issues. Unattended properties can then bring upon its own issues. Frozen pipes, impact from the elements and of course overgrowth of the garden. This in turn can lead to roots growing into the property damaging the buildings’ structure. This sort of damage to properties can then severely decrease the overall value of the house. An abandoned or derelict property are seen to cause numerous issues, becoming undesirable to live near one. In turn, lowering the value of properties in the surrounding area, so it’s not just the abandoned empty property itself which becomes impacted.

Why you need to refer a property sooner rather than later?

With this in mind it is imperative to refer empty properties a soon as they arise. The less time they remain abandoned, the less time they have to become derelict and impacted by the assortment of issues which emerge. If you refer these empty properties to us, we can inform the nearest next of kin and begin the process of passing the estate to family, preventing the issues caused from empty properties.

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