There are different strategies regarding the use of empty properties and one of them includes the repurposing and reuse of those properties to contribute to the eradication of poverty. Currently, there are opportunities in reusing socially owned vacant buildings and spaces that may be used as accomodation for those who are at risk of homelessness and who are vulnerable. 

  1. What is an abandoned property
  2. Repurposing of empty and vacant properties
  3. Repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on business premises in the United Kingdom

What is an abandoned property

Abandoned property is understood as a piece of property that has been handed over to the state after years of neglect or inactivity. In order to know if a property is abandoned, it is important to know if there is a owner, and who that owner is. In order to identify the owner of the property, there are different ways to find him or her. The first way in finding the details of the abandoned house is to contact the neighbours. It is essential to investigate the identity of the owner, as in some cases the owner may be deceased. It can also be found at local institutions, that way it is easy to find out who the heirs are or which notary's office is in charge of the housing estate file.

Once a property is registered as unclaimed, time must go by in order for it to qualify as abandoned. Only then, can it be turned to the state.

Repurposing of empty and vacant properties

The United Kingdom (UK) is meeting a significant rise in homelessness levels as well as the use of temporary housing whereas the number of available properties is decreasing. For this reason, assocations and charitable associations are desperately looking for ways to tackle these issues.

In the UK, an estimate of 7,000 commercial and business premises owned by local authorities have been empty and vacant for over 12 months. These places have the potential of accomodating individuals and become homes, they may create up to 19,000 residential units. Of course, these spaces will have to go through a conversion from abandoned property to liveable property in a dignifying matter.

It is evident that the significant number of empty and vacant properties in the UK could help alleviate this issue, however, most of these properties need more construction work and a long conversion process.

Seemingly, there is a significant housing issue in the UK, where many buildings are left abandoned and unused. The most sustainable and rewarding option when it comes to finding alternative uses to those buildings is placing homeless households into temporary accomodation, and to revise their stance on the redevelopment and repurposing or buildings for housing. However, this alternative is very costly, the conversion of these premises into accomodations and homes comes with obstacles and challenges. The conversion has to be made for the long-term, and such conversion includes time and money. It includes time as it requires a whole planning of the building's structural changes and a planning of the finance in order to be able to buy, rent or lease a building. Also, the conversion must respect certain standards and be of good quality in order to be long lasting.

Although it is challenging, such conversion is possible if the right shareholders gather and come together with the same common goal. In addition to these challenges being overcomable and resolvable, they may result in a solution that benefits all the parties involved.

Repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on business premises in the United Kingdom

The pandemic of Covid-19 led to the abandonment of many business establishments that have been unused for over a year and lie within local authority ownership. 

The pandemic has clearly changed our way of living, and during the lockdown, it became really hard to move around and buy things in the stores. Fear took over, and the amount of people in the streets significantly dropped. Undeniably, it has significantly affected the way we live and visits to the high streets over the past years. It also changed our way of working, many offices remained completely empty with the rise of working remotely in popularity and convenience. Strict measures taken by the state, which were necessary to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, caused enormous financial difficulties for businesses, who found themselves unable to pay their rents and charges. This has put the landlords themselves in difficult financial situation and is a reason for the unused and abandoned buildings in the UK.

Most likely, the pandemic has had long term consequences for the vacancy rates of offices and commercial premises across the UK.  The pandemic created an era of over-supply and reduced demand which creates a difficult situation for owners and landlord who find themselves struggling to retain empty units or buildings financially.

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