The growth in the number of empty homes across the London borough of Ealing has resulted in the area’s local authority taking steps to bring many of these properties back into full-time use.
Ealing Council has committed to tackling the area’s ongoing housing shortage by taking a radical new approach to those properties that are currently unoccupied and are kept in a poor condition by their owner, the Ealing Gazette reports.
It is launching a new grant scheme that will see these buildings transformed into new and inviting properties for council tenants, as the current state of some areas of the borough mean these rundown homes have become a magnet for fly tipping, antisocial behaviour, graffiti, vermin and drug and alcohol abusers.
With grants available of between £5,000 and £30,000 for the renovation of empty homes, the only stipulation made for those wishing to take part is that their property be brought back into full-time use within 12 months and be made available for long-term rental to the local authority for a minimum of five years.
At present, the council estimates that up to 483 homes across the district could qualify for funding under the scheme, with many of these properties having been vacant for at least six months.
Those owners who fail to carry out repairs and bring their home up to scratch were also warned the council will not shy away from compulsory purchase orders if need be to bring these homes up to the required standard.
Councillor Hitesh Tailor, cabinet member for housing, employment and skills, told the publication: “We have already dealt with lots of empty properties, but there are still many more out there and we will continue to tackle the more persistent ones.
“These powers will help us increase affordable housing, reduce crime and antisocial behaviour and spruce up these unsightly derelict properties, making them part of their local communities once again.”
All those planning to leave their property empty for more than 30 days should consider talking out unoccupied home insurance from GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Limited in order to protect against unexpected damage while they are absent.