Tough line on empty and derelict homes
Published on 11th October 2012
Housing officers in Sandwell are to continue to take a tough line on home-owners which annoy local people by leaving their properties empty and near-derelict for long periods.
The promise to local residents that tough action will be taken on people who leave homes empty follows a number of problem areas in recent years.
Recently the council was given authorisation to take out a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) after a house had been empty for a number of years.
Councilllor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for housing, said : "This was an important matter because local residents and councillors had been complaining about the condition of the house.
"Unfortunately the owner could not be traced for a time and it was believed he had moved to America."
However it was believed that the threat of the CPO forced the owner to communication with the council and he has now moved back into the property.
"He is now continuing with the refurbishment works that were started some years ago and I am pleased to say that officers have confirmed that the home is occupied again," said Councillor Hackett.
It was now understood that the owner, who had been in America for three years, had a job and was making regular payments to settle the large council tax debt he built up over the years, he added.
Councillor Hackett said the council was no longer pursuing CPO action on the property and were now looking into a problem house in the Dudley road area where there were long term problems which had attracted many complaints.
"I am pleased that we have resolved this problem house and that we are to continue to a tough line on this kind of situation which can be very annoying to people who live near these neglected properties," he said.
Councillor Hackett said he had pledged to bring a minimum of 200 empty homes a year back into use.
And he said the council now had a private sector leasing scheme in operation to help home owners bring their properties back into use.