With house prices still rising and wage growth not keeping pace, many people are struggling to get onto the property ladder.
In Halifax currently, the average cost to buy a home is £160,631, the average flat rental is £455 pcm and the average salary £20,695. Most people simply can’t afford to buy a home and are forced into renting. But, in most cases, more than 50 percent of their income is spent on rent, stifling the chance to save money and progress to buying a home.
What’s worse is that there are thousands of properties, both residential and commercial, that are sitting empty all across the UK and Yorkshire is no exception. With it estimated that Calderdale will need 17,000 new homes by 2032, it is clear that other, more immediate solutions, aren’t being looked at.
One potential solution
In the spring of 2017, Laurel Bank Nursing Home in Halifax closed. Once a place to care for the elderly, the 37 bed home, which sits on 1.6 acres of private land, is lined by mature trees and has a winding driveway leading to the front doors from a stone pillared entrance. The interior has been lovingly-kept and the grounds are well-maintained.
After its closure, Ad Hoc Property Management was contacted by the building’s owners to secure and maintain the property. Ad Hoc, a specialist in protecting vacant property across the UK, used its pioneering Guardian model to do just that.
The rejuvenated property now provides affordable accommodation for a selection of ‘property guardians’, including people looking to save for a down payment on a future home.
With bedrooms of various sizes, bathrooms and shower rooms, communal living spaces, a communal kitchen area and parking, people are able to live in a community of professionals for a licence fee as little as £100 pcm. Even better, that price includes all bills and council tax. Paying such an affordable price (and in a lovely building to boot), means that the guardians are able to save money and Ad Hoc has a history of its licensees going on to buy property of their own.
“Being able to live in such a beautiful building, on such a large piece of land, for £100 pcm, not only saves me money, but it also allows me to live a very socialiable lifestyle – I also like the fact that by living in it, I’m helping protect it, so giving something back too” said Graham, Guardian at Laurel Bank (surname withheld for privacy reasons).
If more vacant properties were occupied by Guardians, the full spectrum of the public sector that owns vacant property, especially local government, would benefit from saving on police resources (reduced call-outs for vandalism, break-ins and squatters etc), as well as savings on security and maintenance, not to mention reduced property tax. But, it’s not just local government that benefits either, guardianship provides affordable living options for those who have been priced out of the rental market, and therefore must be considered by local authorities when it comes to empty buildings.
For more information about Ad Hoc’s property management or if you are interested in finding affordable accommodation and helping communities feel safer, please contact: 0191 338 6699 or 0333 015661