Image demonstrating Council working to bring empty homes back into residential use 

Council working to bring empty homes back into residential use 

To mark National Empty Homes Week (15 - 21 February), Northumberland County Council is highlighting the work that it taking place to address the problem of empty properties in the county and is appealing to anyone who owns or knows of a long term empty property to get in touch. 
With affordable housing in short supply, the council has been taking action in a number of ways to help bring unused properties back into residential use. Since April 2015, the Private Sector housing team has assisted in returning over 750 empty properties back into use.  
The council can offer a range of advice and assistance, including a free Property Accreditation Scheme, which can help owners to source suitable tenants for their properties, via free advertising on Northumberland Homefinder, and carry out free tenant reference checks. The council can also help tenants raise the deposit needed to move into a previously empty property. 
Other powers include the use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders; this is an enforcement procedure used to repair, re-let and manage problematic long term empty properties on the owners behalf for a period of around seven years. Once repaired, the properties are let to tenants on Northumberland County Council's housing register. 
The council is also looking to purchase long term empty properties. 
Northumberland County Councillor  John Riddle, cabinet member for community services said: 
“Unfortunately some properties are left empty for long periods of time, often getting into a state of disrepair and attracting anti-social behaviour, when they could be providing an income to their owner and much needed accommodation to people living in Northumberland. 
“Empty homes continue to be an issue in the county and National Empty Homes Week is an ideal opportunity to highlight the work that we are doing to address this problem. 
“It’s wonderful to see these properties once again becoming much-needed family homes. We know there is still more work that needs to be done and wwill be continuing to work closely with landlords and owners to identify other properties where we can offer help to provide these homes with a new lease of life.”  
If you are an owner of an empty property or if there is a long-term empty property in your neighbourhood we’d like to hear from you to see if we can help.  You can get in touch by contacting our private sector housing team on 0345 600 6400 or email   
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