Why Empty Homes Matter?

Empty Homes -

There are over 216,000 empty homes across the UK, enough supply to eradicate homelessness!

Empty properties are a wasted resource, to the owner and to the community as a whole. Long-term vacant homes now account for £53.6bn of property. 

There is a huge need for housing of every type across the UK and empty properties which could otherwise be made available for housing are a wasted resource. 

So why do empty homes matter?

1. The cost 

In our experience, the longer a property is left vacant the more it will cost to bring it back into habitable condition as properties deteriorate when unused as maintenance is not carried out and issues such as leaks and damp go unnoticed. The opportunity cost of leaving a property empty is huge. Lost rent costs owners tens of thousands a year. The owners of empty properties remain responsible for utilities so the burning costs such as council tax, utility standing charges and maintenance can cost a significant sum. If the external condition of an empty property is bad, this can have a knock on impact on the value of other properties in the surrounding area. 

2. Affordable housing 

Bringing empty homes back into use increases the overall supply of housing helping local councils to meet their housing needs. Eradicating empty homes would help could help in supplying affordable housing to meet the need of the homeless and those in temporary accommodation. 

3. For Local Residents

Ensuring properties are occupied makes local residents feel more secure and reduces the risk of vandalism, anti social behaviour and fly tipping. Vandalised and graffitied empty homes can feel depressive and have an impact on the prices and condition of adjoining homes through dampness and structural issues. Occupied spaces help to maintain safe neighbourhoods and increases the general sense of community. 

4. For The Local Economy

Bringing an empty home back into use encourages economic vitality and can increase spending in the local economy. Unsightly homes deter investment in an area and can lead to decline or area blight.

5. For The Wider Community

Removing the negative impact of empty properties helps to boost the well-being of communities. Reduced demand on services such as the Fire and Rescue Service, the Police and Council Services such as Environmental Health means that resources can be used more effectively elsewhere

We want to encourage and help owners and managers to bring them back into use.Property guardian protection reduces the number of disused homes in the UK.  Tackling empty homes is our focus and we believe that the social benefits attached to creating affordable accommodation is huge. Our service offers a win win solution for the owners of buildings and the guardians who occupy the space.

 

Why we prioritise key workers?

Key Workers

Why we prioritise key workers?

For every available space, on average we receive 22 property guardian applications so we work hard to select the most suitable individuals to protect our clients’ assets.

Luckily for us, we receive huge numbers of enquires from key workers and we ensure that they are prioritised for any available spaces across our portfolio of guardian properties.

Whether they are caring for sick patients, helping to keep essential services going or ensuring we are all fed, key workers are the most caring and giving people in society so we wholeheartedly trust them to look after our buildings better than any one else. in touch with us to get a free guardian management proposal. 

Key Worker Protection

We stick to this principle because:

 
Key workers care 
We trust key workers with all aspects of our lives including our health and looking after our children and security. Key workers tend to take to be careful rather than carefree approach to life which makes them great property guardians.
 
Key workers are professional 

With hectic work schedules and shift patterns, we find that having a mix of different key worker property guardians leads to our properties being occupied around the clock which leads to improved security. It also helps that they tend to work in jobs that directly help us to secure buildings such as the police force, armed services and the fire brigade. Who would make better custodians of our clients’ buildings?

Key workers need affordable accommodation

We all know that key workers are overworked and often under paid. They appreciate that we offer quality temporary accommodation at a significant discount to market rents. Our property security solution is not a long term fix for the housing affordability crisis in the UK but it does add to the short term supply of affordable accommodation. On average, guardians pay 28% of their salary on housing which is less than the 33% that is considered to be the standard measure of affordability.

They’re our national superheros
 So they deserve to get what they want. If a key worker wants one of our available rooms, who are we to say no?
  have an empty property or development site that needs s

How much is your vacant property costing you?

Secure Empty Properties

Landlords concerned with making moves amid the current market may be biding their time and holding on to vacant properties. Is the cost of holding your empty property spiralling?

The property market finds itself in an uncertain place amid covid-19 and the restrictions that have been imposed to keep us all safe. This may extend the time that properties are left empty as development and sale plans are put on pause.

Security costs, council tax, business rates, bills and maintenance still apply when properties are empty leading to significant burning costs and negative returns.

Property guardianship can mitigate the costs of holding empty property as guardian companies tend to cover the costs attached to running the buildings.

For commercial property owners, the costs savings are significant if business rates can be reduced by temporarily converting to residential (no planning implications). We have a 100% success rate in reducing business rate though our relationship with the Valuation Office by using our guardian solution. 

Empty Property Costs

Vacant Property Security 

Visibly empty homes attract unwanted attention. Vacant properties are a target for squatters, vandals and other criminal activity so it is important to ensure the building is secure.


Empty property security options involve everything from 24 hour security guards through to security dogs and metal screens. A 24 hour security solution can costs in the region of £100,000 a year. Even security screens cost several thousand of pounds and do nothing to guarantee against the risks to empty buildings.

Vacant Property Insurance

Due to the vulnerability of empty buildings, standard property insurance will become void if the property remains empty for a lengthy period of time. This period varies depending on the insurance provider but many policies are void after 3 months. Vacant property insurance is more expensive than standard insurance due to the risks attached to periods of vacancy.

Bills and Maintenance

Even if a property is empty, it will still have bills to pay leading to outgoings that can add up to significant amounts. Regular bills such as water, electricity and gas usually incur a standing charge. Maintenance issues regularly arise as empty properties tend to deteriorate over time if it is not being inspected on a regular basis. One of the biggest risks to empty buildings comes from expensive accidents such as flooding or water damage.

Council Tax and Business Rates  

For some owners, the only option may be to allow these assets to remain empty during this time but the cost of owning empty buildings are higher than ever. Councils now have the option to charge a 200% premium on council tax – trebling the bill for properties that have been empty for five years or more. For those that have been empty for 10 years or more, from April 2021 your local authority could charge you a 300% premium.

This applies even if you recently took ownership of the building if the building was vacant with the previous owner.

Business rates have a crippling effect on occupied businesses let alone for the owners of vacant properties. Our ability to reduce rates makes our solution a no brainer for the owners of empty buildings as no other method of security offers the financial benefits on offer through the use of guardians.

If you would like to make saving from your vacant property portfolio, get in touch for a free proposal. 

Coronavirus Guidance for Guardians

Coronavrus Guidance for Key Workers

The health of our Property Guardians and Guardian management team is our top priority.

We continue to follow the latest government advice surrounding Coronavirus in the UK and are adapting our service and operations to best service our property guardians and staff at this time. Our focus is on maintaining our service level whilst keeping everyone safe. 

Communal living as a Property Guardian – Covid-19

We are closely monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic and wanted to issue some guidance to our property guardians to ensure government guidelines are being followed in communal settings. 

Communal living 

Where possible, we have restricted access to our guardian communal spaces and placed signage in areas which need to stay open for access advising guardians not to congregate. 

We are advising guardians to: 

– Maintain a 2m distance from other guardians 

– Ensure hands are washed regularly and thoroughly

– Coordinate the use of shared kitchens to minimise the time spent in the same room.      Always clean up after yourselves and use antibacterial solutions on surfaces after use. 

Property inspections 

We will give 48 hours notice before completing property visits. We will also call you on the day of inspection to ensure you are aware and for further confirmation. 

With reduced property management capacity, we will only be able to deal with emergency maintenance and security tasks.

On entering the your space, our team have requested that you temporary clear the areas that we are inspecting and allow for 2m distance between yourselves and our property managers. 

Viewings

Viewings on new spaces are currently on hold. We are carrying out virtual tours and have footage of all available rooms.

Visitors 

In line with government guidelines, visitors are not permitted in our buildings. If your property has areas of outdoor space, please follow the governments latest guidance on garden visits. 

Self isolating

Any property guardians needing to self-isolate should stay in their individual rooms with the door closed. They should only use shared living spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and living areas when necessary. We will work with you to make the appropriate arrangements.

General guidance 

Please only call 111 if you require significant care or assistance. You do not need to call 111 to self-isolate. Please self-isolate if you present any of the symptoms, no matter how mild. You will need to self-isolate for 7 days from when the symptoms started.

Moving forward 

 

 

Introducing Avalon Guardians

Property Guardian Protection

We have launched! 

We’re excited to introduce Avalon Guardians, a company focused on finding productive and creative solutions for empty properties.  

There are over 216,000 vacant properties across the UK and an even larger number of underutilised properties that we feel should be brought into productive use. 

We are focused on finding both long and short term solutions to bring life back into assets to ensure their potential is maximised. 

Our main service offering if focused on temporary guardian security to protect and mange empty buildings but we are currently advising on a carpark rooftop to bar conversion and a ‘shop in a box’ shipping container business park to give you a feel for the range of solutions that we conjure up. 

Our guardian property security service is fantastic as it is focused on creating temporary affordable living spaces from disused buildings. This is an effective way for property owners to secure their buildings as it offers a complete security service to replace costly traditional security methods. The financial and social benefits of using guardians makes the solution a no brainer for the owners of empty buildings.  

We are launching with the aim of creating 1,000 quality temporary guardian spaces across the UK. 

Our focus is on offering complaint guardian services. All rooms will be delivered in line with health and safety and HMO licensing standards. We will deliver good quality spaces at affordable prices. 

We look forward to embarking on our mission to bring properties back into use by employing our 360 management solution. 

How Property Guardians Secure Property?

Having a daily presence in a building that would otherwise be empty significantly reduces the risks of problems arising. 

Property Guardians protect our clients’ assets by living in the space on a full time basis. They live normal working lives, their role is simply to be the eyes and ears of our property managers to help us in protecting buildings.  Property guardians secure empty properties by signing up to the following responsibilities: 

Reporting 

We have a 24 hour contact number and monitored inbox so our guardians can always get hold of us. They must immediately report on any issues that arise concerning the security and or condition of the building they live in. If anyone is seen to attempt vandalism or trespassing, we have a security process in place to ensure that emergency services and our property managers are alerted to ensure the problem is resolved. 

This also applies to any maintenance issues such as leaks, flooding, broken windows or power outages. One of the biggest causes of dilapidation is maintenance issues going undetected for long periods of time. Having guardians live in a space completely eradicates this problem. 

Being Present 

Property Guardians agree to be a constant presence in the buildings they occupy. This simply means using the property as their principle residence and not leaving for a period of more than 48 hours without letting us know. 

Official statistics show that seven in 10 burglaries are committed when no-one is in the home. This demonstrates that unoccupied buildings are vulnerable. Having someone living in the space, turning lights on and generally being around is the biggest benefit of our security solution.

Supporting our property managers 

Guardians are not expected to challenge anti-social behaviour or complete repairs to issues that arise, that is completely on us. Our dedicated property managers are responsible for dealing with all issues.  We just need our guardians help to know when problems come up so we can react quickly. 

Key features features:

  • Risk of break-ins reduced by 70% compared to traditional security methods
  • Immediate response, 24 hours a day
  • Security issues resolved immediately
  • Maintains property’s condition 
  • Maintenance issues dealt with immediately