COVENTRY Council will take extra measures to bring empty homes back into use in a bid to combat the city’s housing crisis.
The authority says it is making the provision of housing for Coventry residents a priority and the Empty Dwelling Strategy will help increase the availability of good quality homes to meet the city’s housing need.
The major five-year plan will reduce the number of long-term vacant properties – those homes that have been empty for six months or more.
A new empty dwellings officer will be recruited in the coming weeks to co-ordinate the way different services link together between housing and enforcement services. More work will also be done with private landlords to help identify innovative ways in which they can get properties back into use.
The strategy will also aim to publicise and engage with property owners so that they clearly understand the latest legislation and their responsibilities to maintain property standards.
The new policy will fit in with the city’s Local Plan and help improve the housing stock and the quality of life for residents around the city.
The strategy will focus on coming to agreements with owners and working with them where possible to come up with a future plan for the property.
When a property has been empty for six months or more the council will contact the homeowner to find the reasons why and ask about the owner’s plans.
Council officers will offer advice on bringing the property back into use and set a timescale. Then, if no suitable action is agreed or taken, enforcement action will be considered.
Coun David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: “We want to put extra resources in to bring empty properties back in use and that’s why we recruiting to a new dedicated post to co-ordinate this work.
“An empty dwelling officer will be able to link with different services to effectively co-ordinated our work to really encourage owners to rethink the way their properties could be used.
“We have a Let’s Rent scheme that I really want us to promote more widely to encourage private landlords to rethink the way their property is used.
“We know there is a national housing shortage and this strategy is just one way we can help to tackle that shortage in Coventry.
“It will allow us to provide homes to people who need them and protect our local environment.”
“The policy will focus on empty properties that are becoming an eyesore through neglect or vandalism, or are a target for anti-social behaviour – issues that can have an impact on the whole neighbourhood and affect the quality of life for those who live and work nearby.”
The Council’s Cabinet will discuss the report outlining the empty home strategy on Tuesday, August 31.
- What do you think? Do you think Coventry City Council is doing enough to combat the housing shortage? What do you think should be done? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org