Work Starts on Empty Homes

17 Oct 2017

Work has started on a number of empty properties across Northumberland, the county council has announced today as National Empty Homes Week (Oct 16th-22nd) gets underway. 

Using an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO), the council has now started to repair four homes across the county, to bring them back into use.    

Working alongside landlords and owners the council has taken over management of the properties, and once full repairs are carried it is expected the first tenants will move in later this year. 

The properties, which are a mixture of two and three bedroom homes and flats, are in Blyth and Ashington and Pegswood. 

Using a £750,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the council has been able, for the first time, to use it’s powers to initiate the EDMO process. It will be bringing 30 homes back into use. 

The council will take over the management of 25 properties, using an EDMO. The council will also purchase five properties, which will be refurbished and once rented, would be managed by the council’s housing management team.

Where possible the work will be done with the consent of and agreement of the landlord or owner. However, if an agreement can not be made the council can take the property from the owner, to secure its future.

In 2016/2017 the council’s private sector homes team was instrumental in bringing 178 empty homes back into use.

Coun John Riddle, Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Resilience, said: “Empty properties are a real problem in Northumberland and National Empty Homes Week is a perfect time to highlight the work that we are doing to address this issue.

“Empty homes can be a real blight on a community, and can lead to anti-social behaviour and a loss of pride in a community.

“So it’s great to see that work has now started to bring four family homes back into use. We understand there is still more that needs to be done, and will be continuing to work closely with landlords and owners to identify other properties where we can offer help, advice or financial assistance to provide these homes with a new lease of life.” 

If you have a property near you which has been empty for two or more years contact the private sector housing team on 01670 622299 or email privatesectorhousing@northumberland.gov.uk 

Watch interview with Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for Housing, discuss empty homes and how the council is tackling this issue.