The finishing touches are being made to an empty property in Thornaby which is being brought back into use.
After issuing a final Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO), Stockton Council took control of the privately owned problematic empty property on Redcar Road which had been a target for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour as well as having an unsightly, overgrown garden.
The Council tried to work informally with the owner to support him in bringing the property back into use but the owner did not wish to take the offer of assistance and support and it became apparent that the property would remain empty.
Following nearly seven years of negotiations and legal wrangling the EDMO was granted in September 2011. However, the owner appealed this decision twice so the Council was not able to enforce the EDMO until June 2013. No other local authority has successfully defended an appeal against a final EDMO.
Since then the Council has arranged for work to be undertaken to refurbish the house.
The Council will have control of the property for the next six years and it will become a rental property within the coming weeks. The Council will use the rental income to pay for the works.
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, Councillor Steve Nelson, said: “It is really encouraging to see properties like this one brought back into use as empty homes are a blight on our communities, often attracting anti-social behaviour. What’s more they are a waste of much needed housing. We want to do all we can to tackle these issues and that’s why we use enforcement action when the property owner is unwilling or unable to cooperate and are working with the social housing providers to bring these homes back into use.”
Stockton Council works in partnership with Coast and Country Housing and Thirteen to assist owners of long term empty properties in bringing them back into use through financial assistance and the on-going management of the properties for up to seven years.
The project is funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Council who offer apprenticeships and employment opportunities for young local people as part of the scheme.