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Before and after - The decaying homes brought back from the brink and reclaimed by Wolverhampton City Council

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 22/02/2021 Jordan Coussins

Empty and decaying properties have been transformed into family homes in Wolverhampton - as the battle for affordable housing continues.

Almost 2,000 privately-owned dwellings - which have stood derelict for years - have been taken over by Wolverhampton City Council in the last 11 years and given a new lease of life.

These squalid, abandoned homes left to rot across the city, including Lane Road, were targeted after they devalued neighbouring properties and became a magnet for yob behaviour, fly-tipping and vermin.

Now, rather than the properties becoming a blight on their neighbourhood, they have either been sold to new homeowners or rented to tenants.

Specialist housing improvement officers from the private sector housing team worked with owners of properties left empty for a long period of time to support them to carry out any required works and have them occupied once again.

If necessary and as a last resort, the authority can use enforcement action to ensure work takes place.

The council also offers grants of up to £500 to encourage more owners of empty properties to act.

The grants either help owners with legal/agent fees to sell their property or provide an incentive to rent it under the Private Sector Leasing (PSL) Scheme - a hassle-free property management service run in association with Wolverhampton Homes.

Coun Jacqueline Sweetman, Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, said: “Our action on empty homes is providing more affordable housing to people in the City of Wolverhampton.

“The properties we have become involved with have often stood empty for many years and, as a result, the condition of them has deteriorated dramatically.

“Our strategy is helping to put these houses back on the market – either to sell or rent – and this in turn is having a positive effect in the areas they are in.

“In addition, it means landlords are once again seeing rental income come in and the value of their properties increase, while local shops and services are benefiting from new residents occupying the houses – providing a significant boost to the local economy.

“This ongoing work is the equivalent of us building hundreds of new houses across the city - and we will continue to focus our efforts on empty houses in the City of Wolverhampton.”

The work to bring back into use empty properties in the city aligns with the City Housing Strategy’s three key objectives of more and better homes, safe and healthy homes and access to a secure home.

The public can get further help and information on private sector housing issues by contacting the council on 01902 551155 or by visiting www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/housing

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