For what seems like an eternity, people across the UK have been feeling the pinch in the property market with consistent purchasing and rental price rises alongside a continual shortage of housing, with no end in sight. In fact, according to the Government, the UK needs one million new homes by 2020 – equivalent to 200,000 new builds a year – just to keep up.

As an aside to this, we know there are approximately 600,000 empty properties across the UK, Scotland and Wales, the majority if not all of which could be put to better use. However, in order to bring them back to life, we need to go through a process of making sure they are fit for purpose. To assist with this, a year ago we introduced our ‘Respect for Guardians’ Charter as a marker in the sand, a statement of intent to improve best practice across the empty property industry.

A year on, and although we have plenty of work still to do, we are making improvements not only in terms of the quality of living standards, but also in our communication with you, our Guardians. We have introduced a number of processes that have at their heart the improvement of best practice and industry standards. We are also liaising with Rex Duis, Property Guardians UK, on a number of matters, not least a presentation for the Empty Homes Conference 2017 in Birmingham in May.

Lastly for this issue, we will be sending out a short questionnaire in the next few weeks that we would like your help with. The questions will be based around matters of importance to you and improvements that we need to be making, so please assist us in helping you.