Empty properties are a wasted resource, when there is much needed housing required in many areas of the district.
As part of its active empty homes programme, East Northamptonshire Council has taken possession of a three bedroom house in Rushden that has stood vacant for eight years.
Despite the house starting to fall into major disrepair, complaints from neighbours, being liable for full Council Tax and attempts by ENC officers to engage with the owner about bringing the property back into use, it remained vacant.
As a final resort, the council sought a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which can be used where owners refuse to take action to bring a property back into use, where an owner cannot be traced or where a property has been empty for a long time and is causing a nuisance or is a danger to the public.
Throughout the lengthy process of seeking the CPO from the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, the council continued to offer help and support but the owner was not prepared to bring the property back into occupation and so it was transferred into the council's ownership on 5 September 2017.
The house and garden will now be cleared and options for its future considered.
Leader of the council, Steven North, explains:
“Whilst we try to give owners of empty properties every opportunity to bring accommodation back into the market for use, we are prepared to take enforcement action.
“In this instance, every opportunity for help and advice was given to the owner but wasn’t taken up. I'm pleased to say that the property is now owned by the council and will shortly be brought back into use to provide much-needed housing in the Rushden area. This will hopefully send a positive message to all owners of long term empty homes that this council is committed to meeting housing needs through bringing empty homes back into use.”
Find out more about how we manage empty homes from our empty homes strategy.