Number of empty homes on South Tyneside falls 25% in six years
Figures obtained by the BBC have uncovered that there were 1,210 houses lying empty in the borough in 2010.
But that number had dropped to 890 by 2016, a fall of 26% over the six-year period.
Six years ago South Tyneside’s population was 148,468 but that had risen to 149,418 as of last year.
Council bosses say just 1% of council-owned housing stock is currently empty.
The official definition of “long-term” emptiness is houses which have been empty for six months of more.
Coun Allan West, lead member for housing at South Tyneside Council, said: “Currently, just 1% of council-owned stock is empty.
“We market and advertise accommodation via Tyne and Wear Homes, which is a partnership between South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead Councils and all social housing providers in the area.
“The borough’s new independent housing company, South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust, has bought 36 long term empty properties and brought them back into use for affordable rent in the last two-and-a-half years.
“A further four properties are currently being purchased.
“Where possible we will work with private owners to encourage them to restore properties so they can be occupied, but there are occasions when this does not prove possible and we have to take action such as the use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders.
“Under this scheme, privately-owned derelict homes are refurbished using Government and Council funding and then rented out to local people with the council acting as ‘landlord’.
“There are many benefits of bringing them back into use.
“Not only does it promote regeneration and increase the range of available properties to rent, it also can reduce vandalism.”