Is vacant property the answer to the housing problem?

I was recently contracted by Ad Hoc Property Management to improve their company website’s positioning in the major search engines; this is my first real client again since the ban on my freelancing was lifted so jumped at the chance to get my hands dirty again and began the process, as I always used to, by getting to know the company and the industry that they work in.

Ad Hoc have an interesting business model which, to my mind, can only benefit all parties involved – I won’t go into too much detail (after all, that’s what they have a website for!) but in short, the company aims to match up reliable working people looking for affordable accommodation with vacant property owners (or should I say owners of vacant properties… the other conjures up images of ditzy blondes with the deeds to Daddy’s mansion).

The benefits for the property guardian are pretty obvious – somewhere to stay for a fraction of “normal” rental costs along with the benefit of having support from an experienced, trusted property management company. The benefits to the property owner are slightly more obscure, but when pointed out, make complete sense.

Imagine you are one of these property owners. You have a large warehouse in the suburbs, your previous tenant has decided to sell up and move to warmer climes (and who could blame them?) but you now have a big, empty property. Well that’s not a huge problem really, it’s an asset that belongs to you – this can only be a good thing. Until… you get a call one morning saying that the windows have been smashed. Or the pressure has built up in the system and a pipe’s burst…. three days ago!

Imagine, instead, that you’ve got a large empty townhouse that you simply don’t have the time to deal with right now (yes, I know, we all have this problem!), this property would be ideal for some free-loader to move into; it’s amazing how easy it is to get away with living in these places unnoticed for long enough to claim “squatter’s rights” on them.

So it seems that Ad Hoc have come up with the perfect solution! Install a person (or group of people) in these vacant properties, charge them as small amount of rent as they can get away with and “protect by occupation.” I know it sounds a bit like Iraq, but it seems to really work! In fact, if I weren’t tied to this fair city, I would probably go ahead and do it myself!

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