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Offences against property provide a legal framework for property offences in the UK, and come in a variety of different forms; from the act of theft, aggravated criminal damage, or the manipulation of property rights, all of which could have a direct effect on an individual house price or neighbourhood. 

In this article we will cover what offences against property are, if offences against property affect your house value, does the crime rate affect your house value and how you can sell quickly in a neighbourhood with high crime rates.

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What are the Offences Against Property?

An Offence Against Property is the illegal action of affecting a person’s rights of ownership. The offences against property legislation constitutes a broad category that includes not only theft and criminal damage but also other criminal acts that involve interference with or deprivation of another person’s property without their consent. 

Some of the main form of offences against property being:
  • Theft:

    The act of taking someone else’s property without their permission with the intention of permanently depriving them of it.

  • Offences of Fraud:

    Any deceptive practice that is intended to secure an unfair or unlawful financial gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. 

  • Criminal damage:

    Intentionally damaging or destroying property, including vandalism, graffiti and other acts that result in property damage or loss.

  • Arson:

    The intentional and malicious act of setting fire to a building, structure or any property. Arson can result in severe damage to property and it’s considered a serious criminal offence. 

  • Forgery:

    The act creating, altering or using false documents or writing with the intent to deceive or defraud others. 

  • Forcible entry:

    Illegally entering a building or property with the intent to commit a crime, usually theft. It involves breaking and entering into a structure with the intention to commit a further offence. 

Offences like aggravated burglary, robbery and blackmail may also contain elements of offences against property if they affect the victim’s rights of possession or control. The most common forms of offences against property are burglary, theft, vandalism and criminal damage, whereas arson is the least common. 

Here are some of the legislations that work in-line with offences against property:
What is the Criminal Damage Act 1971?

The Criminal Damage 1971 Act updated the laws in England and Wales concerning offences against property. It primarily deals with offences related to the intentional or reckless destruction or damage to property.

The Criminal Damage Act 1971 covers a wide range of scenarios where property is damaged, including both public and private property, and it serves to define the criminal liability and the potential penalties for such actions. 

The criminal law provides a legal framework for prosecuting individuals who cause damage to property, whether through direct physical damage, arson, aggravated burglar or other means.

What is the Crime and Disorder Act 1998?

The Crime and Disorder 1998 Act aims to address a range of issues related to crime and disorder, preventing and dealing with criminal behaviour and enhancing the overall security and well-being within communities. 

The Act introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, Parenting Orders, Youth Offending Teams and Local Crime Reduction Partnerships.

What is the Fraud Act 2006?

The Fraud 2006 Act specifically addresses fraud, and is used as a framework for prosecuting and convicting individuals or entities engaged in various forms of fraudulent behaviour.

What is the Theft Act 1968?

The Theft 1968 Act defines the concept of theft and provides specific guidelines on what constitutes theft, including the elements of dishonesty and intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property. 

The Theft Act 1968 also covers other offences related to dishonesty, such as handling stolen goods, making off without payment and related acts.

Do Offences Against Property affect house value UK?

The impact of an offence against property on house values in the UK will vary depending on the home’s situation. While occurrence of a singular low or mid level offence against property (graffiti or forced entry) might not significantly affect the house value, a persistent pattern of offences against property like vandalism can have a notable impact.

When a property is repeatedly targeted or situated in an area with a higher prevalence of property-related offences, potential buyers might perceive the location as unsafe or insecure, leading to diminished interest in the property and potentially lowering its market value.

Frequent offences against property in a neighbourhood can result in a general decline in the area’s reputation and desirability, which could deter prospective buyers from considering properties in that area.

Additionally, the need for enhanced security measures, potential increases in insurance costs, and the overall negative perception of the area’s safety can collectively contribute to reduced demand and, consequently, a downward pressure on property prices.

Contrary to this, in several regions with heightened crime rates and comparatively lower housing costs, rental yields tend to soar. For instance, Hartlepool presently holds the top position in the UK with an impressive rental yield of 7.64%.

Although the average house price there stands at £153,677, the reported incidents of crime in August 2023 were 1547. In contrast, Durham boasts a respectable yield of 4.3% despite 157 reported crimes during the same period. 

How does fraud impact home values?

Fraud can greatly impact home values, especially in terms of actual property transactions. One of the most prevalent forms of property-related fraud involves fraudulent attempts to manipulate the Land Registry. 

Fraudsters may attempt to request unauthorised changes to the HM Land Registry, aiming to transfer property assets into their ownership or impersonate the current owner for illicit financial gains. 

Discovering fraud after a property has been sold can lead to a host of legal complications, triggering disputes and causing a decline in the property’s value. In such cases, the true market value of the property often needs to be reassessed, leading to potential devaluation. 

The original buyers might seek to recoup their losses, while the property itself might face a loss of trust and confidence in the market. These legal repercussions can cumulatively contribute to a reduction in the property’s value and desirability.

Luckily, the HM Land Registry are trying to tackle fraudulent property transactions by offering a service in which people can register and get alerts if any alterations or applications are made on a property title.

Also, they are giving people the ability (for a small fee) to register a restriction on their own titles which means if a fraudster tries to sell it and a buyers solicitor runs their OS1, they will note the restriction and have to contact the actual owner to remove it.

Do historic crimes affect a home value?

A death on a property, busted drug lab or a property of known squatters can cause a home to be stigmatised, in which a house has negative psychological connotations but faces no physical damage. 

In some extreme cases, serious historic crimes like serial murder can cause houses to become notorious within a neighbourhood, which could dramatically decrease but in some rare cases, dramatically increase the house value due to legend or rumour of the crime. 

Do murders lower house prices?

The impact of non-natural or violent deaths, such as suicides and murders on house prices can be significant,  primarily due to the legal obligation to disclose such incidents to potential home buyers. In some instances the revelation of a previous murder within a property can result in a reduction in house prices often by as much as 25%.

The decrease in value is usually attributed to the apprehension and unease experienced by potential buyers, which can dissuade them from considering the property, despite any house value it might have. 

The disclosure of a violent death within a property can create a stigma or a haunting history that may linger in the minds of prospective buyers ultimately influencing their decision-making process. 

Do natural deaths lower house prices?

While it is true that a significant number of properties in the UK might have had previous residents pass away within their premises, the legal requirement for estate agents and property vendors to disclose natural deaths within a property to potential buyers is not a legal requirement. 

Consequently, in many cases, prospective buyers might not be aware of any natural deaths that have occurred within a property.

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Does the crime rate affect house prices?

The correlation between the crime rate of an area and its effect on house prices is linked to the perceived safety and overall appeal of a neighbourhood. When the crime rate in an area is high, it tends to drive down property values, whereas a lower crime rate often contributes to an increase in property values, fostering a sense of security and desirability within the community. 

In a study conducted by a researcher at Newcastle University, as detailed in the Urban Studies Journal, the implications of antisocial behaviour within a locality were quantified. The research indicated that for every case of anti-social behaviour per ten individuals in a given street, there was an approximate decrease of 0.6% to 0.8% in property prices.

Furthermore, the study found that an escalation in violent crime was associated with a decline in property prices, ranging from around 0.6% to 1.6%. Similarly, an upsurge in non-violent crime was linked to a relatively moderate decrease in property prices, estimated to be approximately 0.2% to 0.4%. The majority of these estimates leaned toward the upper end of the provided intervals. 

The study also suggested that estimates concerning robbery, burglary and vehicle crime were inconclusive, or potentially biassed due to the concept of reverse causality, wherein the relationship between crime and property values might be more complex than initially anticipated. 

How does crime rate affect supply and demand?

High crime rates can lead to a decrease in demand for properties in a specific area, thus affecting property prices. Potential buyers may be discouraged from investing in areas with high crime rates due to concerns about safety and security. 

As a result the supply of homes in these areas may exceed the demand, leading to a decrease in property values. Conversely, in areas with lower crime rates, the demand for properties tends to be higher, often resulting in increased property values. 

Do dangerous areas have lower house prices?

Dangerous crime rate areas can lead to a decrease in the supply of housing in certain areas. Homeowners may be more inclined to sell their properties at lower prices or avoid investing in properties in high-crime neighbourhoods. This can create a cycle where the supply of housing is reduced, leading to a decrease in property values. 

Neighbourhoods grappling with higher crime rates often grapple with the stigma of being less secure, subsequently diminishing their allure for prospective residents. This heightened perception of risk and insecurity can wield a substantial influence on the valuation of properties, deterring potential buyers who prioritise safety and security. 

Consequently, residential properties situated in these high-risk areas commonly face lower price tags in comparison to their counterparts in safer localities. 

A study conducted by a researcher at the London School of Economics delved into the impact of various criminal activities on property values. Surprisingly, the research revealed that while vandalism and graffiti wielded a huge influence on house prices,  the levels of burglary and violent crime within an area did not exhibit the same level of impact. 

This study implied that visible crimes, ones that contribute to the deterioration of the neighbourhood’s appearance and desirability, held the potential to influence property prices. In contrast, more dangerous crimes, often obscured from plain sight, appeared to have a relatively lesser impact on property valuations.

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Do you have to disclose a violent crime when selling a house?

While there is no legal requirement for sellers to disclose information about violent crimes that have taken place on a property, provided there were no fatalities, there is an obligation for estate agents and property vendors to provide as accurate of a description as possible.

It's important to note that any disputes with neighbours or the existence of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) against a neighbour must be disclosed to potential buyers.

Moreover, sellers are obligated to be transparent and forthright in their responses to inquiries about the property. Failing to disclose a violent incident, if directly asked, could potentially lead to repercussions such as a reduction in the buyer’s offer or even withdrawal from the purchase.

How do you sell a house quickly in a high crime rate area?

Looking to sell your house quickly in an area with a high crime rate? Well, look no further than us! As one of the leading cash buyers in the UK, we specialise in speeding the sales process, often finalising transactions in as little as seven days. 

Regardless of any prior offences against the property, we make the selling experience hassle-free and devoid of any bias. No matter the circumstances you’re facing, we understand the urgency of your situation and are committed to facilitating a seamless and prompt sale, allowing you to transition to the next phase of your life. 

Moreover, we go the extra mile by covering all associated costs, including solicitor fees, making the process even more convenient for you. As cash house buyers, we prioritise flexibility and efficiency, ensuring that the timeline aligns with your specific needs and preferences. 

While the average property sale can take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks, our exceptional track record boasts numerous instances of completing transactions within a mere 7 day timeframe, and in some exceptional cases, even quicker. 

Throughout the process, our dedicated customer service team provides exceptional support, ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience from start to finish. With our reliable and efficient services, selling your house quickly in a high crime rate area has never been more straightforward.

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Tom Condon

Tom Condon, one of our content writers, has fascinating expertise in sustainability in the property industry. Tom thoroughly understands the market and has experience in both residential and commercial property. He enjoys attending conferences and staying current with the most recent property trends.