With all the regeneration going on in Birmingham it is not surprising that we have so many buildings that are dilapidated or derelict as they wait for demolition or refurbishment.
There are many reasons why buildings remain empty and gradually fall into a bad state of repair. Owners often buy a building for an intended project and fail to get the necessary planning permission. Sometimes a building is boarded up and left until a buyer can be found and increasingly buildings are demolished quickly to avoid paying commercial rates.
Large industrial units, commercial wastelands and derelict buildings of all shapes and sizes are a magnet for drug takers, fly tippers and bored gangs of youths. These properties are often set on fire "just for a laugh".
There are health and safety issues with unoccuppied buildings which often relate to the unstable structure or internal fittings. Another issue is rat infestation and if the building has been used by drug addicts there is the added risk of needles and drugs paraphanalia.
Any unused building should be secure and boarded up or fenced off appropriately. However, this often is not enough to prevent people gaining access and there is only so much the owners can do to limit access on empty premises.
Empty buildings are often the target of urban explorers, some of whom are concientious enough to gain legal access without damage and others who have no issues with forced entry.
If you have issues with a building near you then you should make attempts to get as much detailed information as possible about the building before reporting it.
You can find a check list and some useful information about reporting a derelict or abandoned building at the West Midlands Arson Taskforce website.