In November 2019, the council announced it would quadruple the cost of council tax for private property owners who left their homes empty
More than 1,000 properties across Trafford stood empty before the pandemic hit, new figures have revealed.
In total, 1,095 properties were empty for six months or more, with 163 homes unlived in for two years of more, Trafford Council found in its latest empty homes strategy review.
The authority now wants to get these 163 houses back into use as a priority to help tackle the homelessness crisis, improve access to social housing for those who need it, improve the lives of tenants and support the vulnerable.
In November 2019, the council announced it would quadruple the cost of council tax for private property owners who left their homes empty.
This was designed to tackle the then 1,095 properties that had stood empty for over six months at that point, hitting owners with much higher bills from April 2020 onwards.
Since then, ‘high priority’ houses have been brought back into use, including a home that had remained vacant since October 2013 on Barkway Road in Stretford.
The ‘problematic’ property became empty seven years ago and has been the subject of continuous vandalism and fly-tipping ever since. Residents routinely complained until the council boarded up the property, contacted its owners and it was finally sold on.
Since 2019, the authority has also extended a £10,000 Empty Property Loan scheme to help support improvement works to make Trafford’s empty properties habitable again.
The 163 properties identified as having been empty for two or more years are now being prioritised through a scoring matrix for this funding to ensure work is done to these properties first.
Coun James Wright, Trafford council’s executive member for housing, said: Trafford council is working hard to bring empty properties in the borough back into use and we are now starting to see some successes since the launch of our scheme.
Empty homes are of no use to anyone and we are committed to bringing as many properties back to use as we possibly can, he said.
A spokesperson for the council explained the empty homes strategy (2019-2024) will be reviewed and updated on a quarterly basis, and an update report will be published every year.
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