'I made £700 by reporting neighbour's eyesore property - I'm delighted'

A mum-of-three who was sick of the deserted house next door was left stunned after raking in £700 for reporting the "neighbourhood eyesore". Ayyesha, 30, was disgusted that the property in Smethwick, West Midlands, had become a haven for fly-tippers to dump their load.

This had gone on for years, with no one appearing to live in the abandoned home. Fed up, Ayyesha reported the site to YouSpotProperty.com, which rewards people for highlighting deserted properties across England.

If the home meets the site's criteria - privately owned, not listed for sale, and without recent planning permission applications - the reporter is given a £20 M&S or Amazon voucher.

But things get much sweeter if YouSpotProperty purchases the property, with the reporter receiving a 1 per cent share of the value, up to £10,000, reports The Mirror.

Speaking about her experience, Ayyesha said: "We know from neighbours that the owner had once lived in it years back, yet for the past five years that we've lived next door, it had been left unoccupied - he'd returned maybe once a year only to sweet the front step.

"No one wanted to help, she said. No action was taken. Fly-tippers eventually started dumping mattresses on the front garden and this went on for nearly five years.

"We knew who the owner was and tried to track him down, but he failed to respond to any of our concerns, much to our frustration."

In 2022, Ayyesha took pictures of the home - one of an estimated 250,000 derelict properties in England - and uploaded them to the YouSpotProperty website. After an investigation by the housing firm, she received her Amazon voucher.

The mum was stunned to see that the house was later tidied up and put on sale - and was even further shocked when, in 2023, she received an email telling her she was eligible for £700.

Ayyesha said: "When something is too good to be true, it usually is, however, I called YouSpotProperty following the email and was immediately answered by their finance controller who said 'you must be Ayyesha' I was gobsmacked and overjoyed.

"Initially, I thought I would be getting another voucher, following the £20 Amazon one I received in 2022 for spotting the house I hadn't clocked the 1 per cent reward incentive linked to the firm actually purchasing the property."

Ayyesha, who put the money towards her 30th birthday celebrations, is one of more than 8,000 people who have received £20 vouchers for reporting properties in the last decade, with over 100 sites being "rescued" by YouSpotProperty.

In 2017, Paul Woodley from Hertfordshire became one of the top beneficiaries when he received £10,000 after YouSpotProperty completed the acquisition of a property valued at £1.15million.

Nick Kalms, co-founder of YouSpotProperty.com, said: "Dealing with empty homes is one of the most complex situations to resolve for local communities, as the reason they fall into this position is often so varied.

"Mostly, it's near impossible to locate and speak to owners as they can't easily be traced. We have a specialist team to deal with just this element.

"Often, houses are the subject of long and complicated probate following the death of an individual, and they can sit empty for years. Councils have limited powers and resources to allocate to this which is why they end up blighting neighbourhoods and this is where we step in."

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond. Sign up to our daily newsletter.