More empty homes may be brought back into use thanks to a new approach by Wyre Forest District Council.
The authority has recently updated its Empty Homes Strategy and is highlighting what residents and home owners can do to help during Empty Homes Week.
Officers are aware of more than 340 empty properties in the district and are encouraging owners to get in touch with them and work with the council to bring the homes back into use. Owners can get advice on how to let or sell their home and also find out information about financial assistance to refurbish the property to rent it out. Some empty home owners may be entitled to grants for improvements such as heating and adaptations to the property for people with disabilities.
Properties are classed as long term empty if they have been vacant for more than six months.
Councillor Chris Rogers, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Health and Well-being said:
“We are really keen to work with our communities and owners of empty properties to get them back into use. Empty properties are a blight on the community, they rapidly attract vandals, they can be a focus for anti-social behaviour and can affect neighbouring properties by causing dampness and other problems. There is also little land to build on, and with many people currently in need of housing it makes sense for us to take measures to bring empty homes back into use. “
The council is also urging residents to contact the Private Sector Housing Team if they have any concerns about empty properties. This can be done online at www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/emptyproperties and completing the online form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full Empty Properties Strategy is available on the council’s website www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/EmptyProperties. This page also sets out the information the council needs to know about an empty property and what it will do, in some cases this may involve formal enforcement action.