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Empty homes success

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A groundbreaking council initiative to bring empty property back into use on the east Kent coast has exceeded its targets.

The No Use Empty campaign was launched by Kent CC in 2005 with district councils where there were high numbers of vacant homes.
It represented the first cross-council initiative to tackle empty homes.

Kent said 487 homes had now been brought back into use, against a target of 372. District councils from the rest of the county have now joined the initiative.

No Use Empty works by offering advice to owners of empty properties on renovation grant funding and on how agents and housing associations can help to find reliable tenants.

This is backed up by warnings to landlords that councils can use empty homes management orders to take over persistently vacant homes. Members of the public are encouraged to report the sites of homes left empty.

Empty homes 'a scourge'

Cllr Roger Gough (Con), Kent’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Empty houses are a scourge on our local communities, preventing investment and regeneration, devaluing surrounding properties, attracting anti-social behaviour and depriving people of a much needed home.”

Empty Homes Agency (EHA) executive David Ireland said the initiative had “a catalytic effect encouraging others to bring empty homes back into use” and was a model for other councils.

The news of Kent’s success in exceeding its targets follows the publication of new figures by the EHA last week showing the first rise in vacant dwellings for the past ten years.

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