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Empty homes are being brought back into use

Empty homes brought back into use

Nearly a quarter of homes identified as empty in the Canterbury district have been brought into use thanks to a city council initiative.

The authority employed an empty homes officer, used council tax records and acted on tips from the public to identify almost 1,100 homes.

Some 800 of these were being refurbished, waiting to be let or sold or had people living in them.

But 60 were found to be properly empty and so far 14 of these now have people living in them.

Tim Lovell, the council’s private sector housing development manager, admits it is complicated process bringing empty homes back into use.

He said: “We normally start off tracing owners via Land Registry records, but these typically show the person lives at the property, which is patently not the case.

“If a property owner is deliberately leaving their house empty, but in good repair with all bills paid, there is very little we can do. And in some situations, there are health issues that mean resolving a case is not easy.

“However, where we can get in touch with an owner and engage in meaningful dialogue, we can advise on options open to them, such as refurbishment loans or ways to resolve legal disputes.

“We’re a quarter of the way through the list of those we believe to be ‘doable’ and it’s very satisfying when you see a previously empty home back in use as a result of our intervention.

“It’s a good start, but there’s plenty more to do, and we’re hoping for more successes in the months ahead.”

The council presently has more than 2,000 names on its housing waiting list and the issue of housing remains one of the most contentious in the district.

Cllr Neil Baker, the council’s communities chairman, described the number of homes being reused as “good news”.

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One response to “Empty homes brought back into use”

  1. Sam says:

    “The council presently has more than 2,000 names on its housing waiting list and the issue of housing remains one of the most contentious in the district.”

    Suggests they are bringing them back into use for council housing. Add the council stated in their email this is NOT the case; they are now privately let or owner occupied. It hasn’t changed the list at all.

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