Ealing Council has approved plans to use compulsory purchase orders to get empty homes in the borough back into use.
The council say the option to compulsorily purchase empty properties will only be used as a last resort if owners continue to leave their houses unoccupied and in poor condition. Any properties bought by the council could be used to increase the numbers of affordable housing options in the borough.
Ealing Council’s cabinet has agreed to use this approach in order to deal with the number of empty properties across the borough, with 483 thought to have been vacant for more than six months.
Empty properties can become an eyesore and magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour if left unoccupied for a long time. Neighbours to these properties often have to endure fly-tipping, graffiti, vermin and drug and alcohol misuse as a consequence.
The council already supports owners of empty properties by funding some or all of the improvements which are needed through the empty property grants scheme. Anyone awarded £5,000 to £30,000 funding through the scheme has to provide affordable rental accommodation for council tenants for a minimum of five years. The property must be ready for occupation within 12 months of the date of grant approval.
Councillor Hitesh Tailor, cabinet member for housing, employment and skills, said: “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 anti-social behaviour and spruce up these unsightly derelict properties, making them part of their local communities once again.”