Crackdown on empty homes

PUBLISHED: 11:51 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

A council has promised to take tough action against landlords who leave properties empty. Mid Beds Council has launched an initiative to identify the empty homes and then ask landlords to explain why they are not being used. The council say they were shoc

A council has promised to take tough action against landlords who leave properties empty.

Mid Beds Council has launched an initiative to identify the empty homes and then ask landlords to explain why they are not being used.

The council say they were shocked when 30 per cent of owners of empty homes in Mid Beds stated it was because the property was in a very poor condition and 62 per cent said owning an empty home often or sometimes caused them problems.

Almost 40 per cent of landlords, though, said they would be interested in grants or loans to help them bring the property back into use.

Talking about the survey exclusively to The Comet, the council said there are empty homes in every town and village in Mid Beds.

"We have classified areas with more than 20 empty homes as priority action areas and among these are Biggleswade, Sandy, Potton, Arlesey and Stotfold," says the council.

"None of these properties are owned by the council, the council owns no housing. They are all privately owned properties."

But what will the council do to get them back into use again?

"Mid Beds Council has many tools available to encourage owners of empty homes to bring them back into use such as help and advice, information on letting and grants," says the council.

"We are also considering schemes such as private sector leasing, rent deposit schemes and loans.

"In addition we have enforcement powers available as a last resort such as compulsory purchase and empty dwelling management orders, a new power introduced by the Housing Act 2004 which comes into force on April 1 this year.

"We are actively targeting around 170 homes, out of 550 in Mid Beds District Council's area offering owners assistance and those who are unwilling to bring their homes back into use we will consider enforcement action.

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