Enforcement on cards for empty home owners
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
Enforcement on cards for empty homes owners
Authorities in North Devon are considering measures to tackle the area's empty homes, which include enforcement action in exceptional circumstances.
North Devon Council's Executive members have approved the Empty Homes Policy, which is designed to encourage owners of empty properties to make their premises available for people in housing need.
However, Empty Dwelling Management Orders or compulsory purchases could be used in extreme circumstances.
Executive Member for Housing, Cllr Faye Webber, says: "More than 2,800 people are currently on the housing register, waiting for a home in North Devon district.
"So, I feel sad that about 500 homes in our district have been empty for more than 12 months.
"This new policy will provide us with a method to identify and help bring back into use these empty homes. It also gives us additional powers to deal with any problems that may occur as a result of a property being empty for a long time.
"It will generate income for landlords who let their properties out and also increase the number of rented homes available in North Devon. I think we need to do all we can to help young families who can not afford to buy."
The policy sets out how the council will have a co-ordinated approach to identifying empty properties, by working with various council services and other external agencies.
The Executive members' decision to adopt the Empty Homes Policy follows a six week public consultation on it earlier this year. It will now be incorporated into the council's Private Sector Renewal Strategy for 2012-15.