Empty homes to go back on market

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

A total of 30 empty homes will be brought back into use thanks to a project being delivered by Northumberland County Council.

They will be repaired and released back onto the rental market using a £750,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA’s) Affordable Housing programme.

The local authority will now be working with private landlords who currently have homes that have been empty for two years or more to identify the 30 properties from across the county to be included in the scheme.

Each dwelling will be assessed in terms of its viability – such as cost of repair work, future rental potential, housing need in the area and the impact of it remaining empty on a community.

As part of the scheme, the council will purchase and repair a number of empty homes that once rented would then be managed by its Homes for Northumberland team.

Using Empty Dwelling Management Orders if necessary, it will also take over the management of up to 25 empty homes. Using the grant, these properties would be returned to a habitable condition and rented out. The county council’s business chairman, Scott Dickinson, said: “The council is committed to bringing empty homes back into use, where they can benefit and improve a community.

“Empty properties can have a negative impact on the sustainability of an area, affecting everything from local businesses to public services such as schools and transport.

“Thanks to this funding from the HCA, we will now be able to work with private landlords to identify properties that could be given a new lease of life and become a much-needed family home.”

It is hoped that repair work to the homes will be complete next year, with each being available to rent no later than 2018.