Council set to get tough on empty houses

by Jim Dunton Fri 16 August 2013, 10:18 am

Ealing Council has warned the owners of long-term empty homes that their properties could be compulsorily purchased if they are not brought back into use.

It said homes that had lain empty for years and had fallen into disrepair ought to be used to help ease the borough’s housing shortage, ideally with the authoritiy’s help.

The council is now offering grants of up to £30,000 to help bring properties up to habitable standards if they are rented out on an “affordable" basis, but said as a last resort properties could be compulsorily purchased if they had been empty for long enough.

A cabinet meeting last month endorsed the use of compulsory purchase orders for long-term empty homes after hearing that almost 500 dwellings in the borough had been vacant for six months or more.

Councillor Hitesh Tailor, Ealing’s housing lead, said that although the borough had helped bring many houses back into use, there was still more work to be done.

“These powers will help us increase affordable housing, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and spruce up these unsightly derelict properties, making them part of their local communities once again,” he said.

Ealing’s current empty property grants scheme can fund some or all of the cost of improvements to make homes habitable.

Landlords awarded between £5,000 and £30,000 must complete work within 12 months of the date of grant approval and provide affordable rental accommodation for council tenants for a minimum of five years.

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