Council efforts see empty homes become occupied

St Peter's Grove is popular with buy-to-let landlords (file pic)

The last year has seen 20 empty homes in the district become occupied as a result of a council programme.

Officers from the Private Sector Housing unit have been actively investigating 82 properties with a view to bringing them back into use.

This involved visiting the property, speaking to neighbours, carrying out Land Registry searches, speaking to lenders and sending letters to owners offering advice.

Vice Chairman of the Community Committee, Cllr Joe Howes, said: “Empty homes are a waste of valuable housing resource and can become a real nuisance to those living nearby.

“Bringing properties back into use is a priority for the council and it is just one of a number of things we’re doing to tackle the growing housing need within the district.”

Since beginning its programme to bring homes back into use, Canterbury City Council has looked at more than 1,000 properties.

Just over 700 needed no further action because they were occupied, were up for sale or rent, were being refurbished or were mobile homes or caravans. Another 239 will be investigated.

Cllr Howes added: “Over the coming months, the team will continue to investigate the remaining properties on the database with a focus on making people aware of the help that is available, including from Kent County Council’s No Use Empty loan scheme.

“The team will also start to tackle the more challenging cases using appropriate enforcement powers where needed.”

There are still more than 2,000 names on the council’s housing waiting list.


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