AN empty house left to rot and fall into a state of disrepair has been transformed into a warm and welcoming family home.
Last year Stratford District Council took enforcement action against the owners of a long-term empty property in the town.
Despite the council’s offer of an Empty Property Assistance Grant towards the cost of renovating the property, the owners had allowed the three bed semi-detached house to fall into a state of disrepair and had failed to bring it back into use for three years.
In February last year, the council was granted an Interim Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) from the First-Tier Residential Property Tribunal.
The Interim Order was then escalated to a Final Order, due to a lack of engagement from the owners, giving the council authority to carry out renovation works and rent it out for a period of up to seven years.
The council assigned local contractors RD & TD Swinnerton & Son to undertake extensive renovation works to the property to bring it up to a decent homes standard.
Neighbours were delighted to see the scruffy, eyesore transformed into an attractive family home and in early January the district council was able to offer it to a deserving family who had previously had to ‘sofa surf’.
The property will now be managed on behalf of the council by Coventry Cyrenians who will offer on-going support to the family.
Cllr Jacqui Harris, health, wellbeing and housing portfolio said: “It’s wonderful to see this property once again become a much-needed family home. We know there is still more work that needs to be done, and we will continue to work closely with landlords and
owners to identify other properties where we can offer help, advice or financial assistance to provide these homes with a new lease of life.
“By exercising our powers under the EDMO process we can work on properties which have been standing empty for many years and which have become a real blight on a community. As much as possible we try to do this with the consent of an owner, but an EDMO does give us the power, where needed, to take over management of a property to secure its future.
“Properties can be empty for many reasons, including delays preparing planning applications, problems with probate, the owner is in hospital, family breakdowns and disputes, mental or physical health issues of the owner, debt, or hope that house prices will go up.
“Making empty properties available for people in need of affordable housing forms an important part of our housing strategy.”
If you are concerned about an empty property, please contact the District Council’s Empty Homes Officer on 01789 260866.