Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 14:11 UK

Derelict home sold after 40 years

By Nick Parry
BBC News

Number 9 Banwell Street
The derelict property was sold at auction for 45,000

The spinster who lived at nine Banwell Street was renowned for keeping her mid terraced house pristine.

But after her death more than 40 years ago no one was seen coming or going apart from the occasional rat catcher.

Gradually the building deteriorated until it became a regular source of complaints for those living nearby.

To finally solve the problem Swansea council took possession after its registered owners failed to respond and now it has been sold at auction.

The council is warning property owners who leave other dwellings empty and neglected that more will follow if they do not act to improve them.

Some neighbours were so keen to see the three-bedroom property have a new lease of life they went to watch it being sold.

Trish Lear, who has lived on the street for 21 years, said had it been a long standing source of complaints.

"There have been rats - lots of rats. We've actually seen them going in the front of the house," she said.

"It's just an eyesore and it has an affect on the property prices.

"It's a lovely street - everyone is here for everyone else - but it's not fair on those living nearby."

Trish Lear
We just want them to start work as soon as they can now
Trish Lear

Mrs Lear said it was far cry from how the house used to be.

"The old lady who lived there was a spinster. Apparently it was in pristine condition and everyone commented about her brass. She must be turning in her grave now.

"The only time we've seen people come and go since we've been here is in the last couple of months since it was put up for sale."

She said many in the street were relieved it now had new owners.

"We just want them to start work as soon as they can now," she added.

It is the third derelict private property in the last year Swansea council has successfully sold.

The council said it had made several attempts to contact the registered owner of Banwell Street, in Morriston, but had never received a reply.

In previous years it said it had been forced to carry out work including the installation of a new roof, fixing gutters at the front of the property and clearance of rubbish from the front and gardens.

It used powers under the Law of Property Act 1925 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to enforce the sale of the property.

The council's divisional housing officer Steve Hancock said: "We have served a number of notices on the owner of the property, requiring them to carry out certain works.

"The use of the enforced sale procedure has enabled us to recoup all monies owed to the council and ensure the house has the appropriate renovations carried out before reoccupation."

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