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£100,000 is set aside to get empty homes back into use
2:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
A £100,000 council spending plan has been approved in a bid to get empty North Oxfordshire homes back into use.
The Cherwell District Council fund will pay for legal action and remedial work, for which costs plus interest can be recovered.
The £80,000 to £100,000 fund is aimed at tackling demand for homes, including 3,700 on the district’s social housing waiting list.
Some 598 properties have been empty for more than six months, council records show, 223 furnished and 375 unfurnished.
Its powers include empty dwelling management orders (EDMO) where it legally possesses — but does not own — a home.
None have so far been made, but spokeswoman Gill Butterworth said the cash ensures “we have the funding in place should it be required”.
Cherwell can also carry out remedial “works-in-default” if the owner fails to do it himself.
Six works-in-default worth £32,800 have been carried out since April 2011.
A council report said head of regeneration and housing Chris Stratford has until now had to seek cash for each case.
The report author, private sector housing manager Tim Mills, said enforcement is “effectively a last resort, but one that will not only get specific properties back into use, but also demonstrate to owners of empty property that the council is serious about reducing the number of empty homes”.
He added: “Without recourse to enforcement, where appropriate, the council could appear toothless.”
The council’s executive approved the fund this week.