Dudley Council will be cracking down on homeowners who continue to let their properties stand empty for long periods of time as part of a national initiative.
It is one of more than 100 local authorities taking part in Empty Homes Week, (September 23 to 27) a national campaign which aims to get empty properties back into use.
During the week, the private sector enforcement team will be focusing their work on the 50 worst offenders in the borough. This includes targeting landlords whose properties have been empty for the longest period of time.
Empty homeowners potentially lose thousands of pounds of income each year. The team is committed to working with them to advise and support them on how they can bring the property back into use or can assist if they wish to sell their property.
They can offer grants, subject to conditions and qualifying criteria, of up to £10,000 and help source tenants.
However, once all avenues have been exhausted and if the property remains empty, the council will, as a last resort, take enforcement action.
Councillor David Vickers, deputy leader of Dudley Council, said:
When we’re at a time when affordable housing is in such demand, it seems ludicrous to think there are properties standing empty.
In our borough alone, we know there are at least 2,000 homes which have been standing empty for more than six months.
We want to take positive action to avoid having to go down the enforcement route and work with landlords to bring these properties back into use and ensure they are reaching their full potential.
It’s not difficult to see the benefits. For our residents it means there are more properties to choose from and for landlords they have the potential to earn income from the properties they own and prevent them falling into rack and ruin, which will only cost them more in the long run.
Empty homes week is organised by Action on Empty Homes, an organisation which campaigns nationally to bring empty homes back into use for those in housing need.
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