The owners of more than 100 empty homes in Norwich are to be sent letters urging them to get the houses back into use.

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There are some 500 unoccupied homes in Norwich and city council bosses hope a partnership will get some of them into use.

So far three properties have been signed up to the scheme, but the council is writing to the owners of 110 more empty homes asking them to get on board.

The project is being run in partnership with Norwich City Council, St Martin’s Housing Trust, LEAP, Building Futures in Norwich and CTS Ltd.

The scheme will see all necessary work to get the home back in use done in return for the property being let to city charity St Martin’s Housing Trust.

A city council spokeswoman said: “We identify suitable empty homes and persuade their owners to let them to St Martin’s. “Then St. Martin’s brings them up to a lettable standard using construction trainees who are Norwich LEAP clients.

“This provides a great opportunity for local people to gain hands-on experience, which can lead to employment for those who aren’t in work.

“When complete, St Martin’s will let the properties. The cost of the works and a management charge is recovered from the rent making the funds ‘recyclable’.”

She added: “The past few months have involved setting up this project and identifying suitable houses, and it’s on target with the first three properties signed up.

“This progress means council officers who have been working on the project can now spend more time carrying out the council’s existing work to bring empty homes back into use which, in the first instance, involves us offering advice and assistance to homeowners.”

Three times in the past two years, the city council has used compulsory purchase orders to seize long-term empty homes from owners. Those are sold at auction and returned to use as homes.

• Are you looking for a new home? Make sure you get the Norwich Evening News on Thursdays for our Homes24 section and visit the website at www.homes24.co.uk

12 comments

  • If I owned an empty house l should. Have the right to leave it empty if I want (with a reduced council tax) Perhaps I can use someone's car if its not been used.

    Report this comment

    Phyllis Tyne

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • I'm sure neighbours of such properties , will be well chuffed with the prospects of former inmates and other problematic clientele moving into their manor.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Before sending these letters, it would pay to get their own house (excuse the pun) in order, as there is a NCC owned flat near me that has been unoccupied for months.

    Report this comment

    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • This is the most hilarious article I have seen in a long time. Unless the owner has provided a further address for service than that of the empty property on the Land Certificate at HMLR then the only place they can send the letter to is the empty house. And the owner can pick and choose whether they pick it up or not or admit to doing so. And unless the house is causing problems to neighbouring houses then the City Council must leave it alone. And if it is causing problems then all they can do is carry out repairs and charge the owner and if the owner refuses to put their head above the parapet then they can put a charge or second charge on the property. They cant just go in and take over. Let's have a silly idea like this once a month from these daft councillors, it does brighten my day.

    Report this comment

    Electra

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

  • We tried to rent an empty house that belongs to Suffolk Police a while ago. They had three houses which had stood empty for ages. We offered market rent and even offered to modernise the house at our own cost. The houses are still empty two years later. NRG - I'm sure the neighbours of empty houses would rather have them occupied than empty and attracting vermin, vandals and squatters.

    Report this comment

    tigger449

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Is there really that much call for 2nd homes in Norwich? And it's about time NNDC did something similar to tackle its dire need for housing. LOL

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • What also needs to be tackled is the Council selling off properties to private landlords who then sublet the property. If I am right if the property is unoccupied for 6 months or more then they are exempt from paying Council Tax. The Council should close that loophole also. Maybe introduce an unoccupied tax would be fairer than the bedroom tax which targets only those on benefits who cannot afford it.

    Report this comment

    chebram71

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • this plea for more housing just exposes norwich citys policy of not putting local people first in housing when it comes to social housing . . Homeless people want affordable housing which they are being denied by council policy of housing others first who do not live or come from this area or the uk

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

  • During the 2nd World War, houses that had been 'abandoned' by their owners - who presumably had left to avoid the air raids - were taken into council ownership and used to house those who had lost their homes to the bombing. It seems with the shortage of homes for people today, the council should repeat this process.

    Report this comment

    kenneth jessett

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Before sending these letters, it would pay to get their own house (excuse the pun) in order, as there is a NCC owned flat near me that has been unoccupied for months.

    Report this comment

    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • We tried to rent an empty house that belongs to Suffolk Police a while ago. They had three houses which had stood empty for ages. We offered market rent and even offered to modernise the house at our own cost. The houses are still empty two years later. NRG - I'm sure the neighbours of empty houses would rather have them occupied than empty and attracting vermin, vandals and squatters.

    Report this comment

    tigger449

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • The people next door leave their garden overgrown & unused - am I entitled to go & plant some spuds there?

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Monday, February 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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