TOUGH action has been promised to deal with irresponsible tenants and absent private landlords in South Tyneside.
The threat follows concerns about property owners who let their homes fall into disrepair.
Councillors have backed moves to use regulatory powers to crack down on issues involving blighted properties.
But there are also warnings that tackling such housing problems can take years.
Tony Hanson, South Tyneside Council’s environmental protection manager, outlined the scope of powers available to local authorities at a meeting of the Jarrow and Boldon community area forum.
He highlighted a recent successful scheme in the St Paul’s Road area of Jarrow, where 11 empty private properties were taken over by the council.
The houses and flats, near the Tyne Tunnel entrance, were seized by South Tyneside Council under the terms of an empty dwelling management order. Coun Jim Perry said: “I have visited St Paul’s and inspected the scheme, which has really improved the area.”
But while welcoming moves to tackle blighted properties and absent private landlords, Coun Emma Lewell-Buck warned there were no quick fixes.
She said: “This is not a fast process, and we are often talking about years before some of these schemes are completed.”
Coun Joanne Bell warned there was “much confusion” over the private housing sector, in terms of what powers are available to local councils.
Mr Hanson said South Tyneside Council was approaching the national Homes And Communities Agency for funding, to put together case files, when addressing problems with blighted properties.
But he also said councils had to follow strict housing regulations, which can create further problems between adjoining private and council tenants.