Council takes legal action on what could be the world’s worst home

Stroud District Council has started proceedings against the owner in Gloucestershire following complaints from neighbours over the state of the home, according to Domain.

The property, abandoned and in disrepair, was a cause for concern due to the spread of ferns and other flora into surrounding homes, with council inspectors revealing the building’s dilapidated state.

After numerous unsuccessful attempts to engage with the absentee homeowner to rectify the situation, the council sought a County Court order to compel the sale of the property.

Following its auction, the council intends to recover its costs from the sale proceeds.

This step forms part of the council’s broader initiative to address the housing shortage by offering up to £15,000 (about $AU29,060) in interest-free loans for the refurbishment of vacant properties, which must then be made available as affordable rentals.

The putrid kitchen. Photo: Domain

The issue of unused properties is particularly pressing in rural England, where a charity report highlighted an increasing homelessness crisis, exacerbated by a significant construction backlog.

It is estimated that it would take 89 years to clear this backlog to meet the current housing needs.

The Stroud council, in response to these challenges, has been proactive in its efforts to bring such neglected properties back into circulation.

This includes the recent auction of the jungle-like house, which environmental health officers inspected following neighbourhood complaints.

The house, long abandoned, suffered from extensive moisture damage, promoting the growth of moisture-loving plants inside.

Local residents are encouraged to report abandoned properties, and the council provides guidance on renovating these homes to habitable standards.

Councillor Mattie Ross, chair of the council’s Housing Committee, emphasised the urgency of addressing the housing shortage, while Councillor Lucas Schoemaker described long-term vacant homes as a source of anti-social behaviour and a blight on communities.

This situation mirrors wider issues identified by the England charity CPRE, including soaring house prices, stagnant wages, and the impact of short-term accommodations, which together threaten rural community cohesion and exacerbate homelessness.

The charity’s report points to the stark disparity between rural house prices and wages, underscoring the acute need for affordable housing solutions in these areas.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.

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