La maison est vide depuis des années.

Any explanation for the use of present tense in the french, and past in English?

In French, we use “Présent de l’indicatif” (aka présent de généralité) because it is a fact, a general truth. The word “depuis” means that the fact is still in progress, still present.

In English, you will also use Present but a different one: Present Perfect which has the same purpose. To tell a fact that is still in progress.