Run-down home owners in South Tyneside could be forced to sell

Council bosses could force people to sell run-down homes
Council bosses could force people to sell run-down homes

Council bosses in South Tyneside are planning to force people to sell run-down homes.

The council’s ruling cabinet will be asked to consider approving an Enforced Sale policy which would provide the local authority with extra powers to tackle problem private homes which have been empty for more than six months.

Coun Mark Walsh

Coun Mark Walsh

Enforced Sale is a legal process by which the council can force the sale of a privately owned and unoccupied property or land in certain circumstances - such as when it has been left to fall into a state of disrepair and when the council has run out of options to bring about an improvement in the condition of the property.

Coun Mark Walsh, lead member for housing and Transport, said: “There are a number of properties in the borough that are empty where the owners show no desire to maintain them or bring them back into use.

“They have allowed them to deteriorate to such an extent that they start to have a detrimental effect on neighbouring properties and the local community."

“Enforced sale is a way of selling on the property or site to a new owner and stimulating new interest, investment and reoccupation.

He added: “Bringing a property back into use also increases the range and quality of available properties to rent, and can also reduce vandalism and anti-social behaviour.”

The council has previously used a range of measures to tackle empty homes, including advice, guidance, persuasion and enforcement.

Enforcement action has included the use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders - where derelict homes are refurbished using Government and council funding and then rented out to local people with the council acting as ‘landlord’.

However the process can be costly and time-consuming.

There are strict criteria that must be met before the enforced sale policy could be employed.

Coun Walsh added: “An Enforced Sale policy would provide another tool in our armoury to tackle the problem of empty homes.”

The report will be presented at a meeting of cabinet on January 3.