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Haringey Council to seize empty homes in £6million bid to tackle housing crisis

PUBLISHED: 10:59 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:02 15 July 2020

The scheme is designed to tackle educational inequality and will cost the council £120,000 per year. Picture: Polly Hancock

The scheme is designed to tackle educational inequality and will cost the council £120,000 per year. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

Haringey Council says it “will not hesitate” to take possession of properties left empty in the borough.

Haringey Council leader Joseph Ejiofor said the authority would use 'stringent measures' to tackle the housing crisis. Picture: Polly HancockHaringey Council leader Joseph Ejiofor said the authority would use 'stringent measures' to tackle the housing crisis. Picture: Polly Hancock

Haringey Council is setting up a £6million fund to buy empty homes using compulsory purchase orders (CPOs).

The move is part of a wider effort to clamp down on homeowners who “abandon” properties.

A report by the authority said: “It is a scandal that homes stand empty during a housing crisis.”

There are 1,188 empty homes in the borough and one in every 100 properties have been empty for at least the last six months.

The empty homes could house more than a third of the Haringey households currently homeless and living in temporary accommodation.

The newest figures published by housing charity Shelter, from the first quarter of 2019, recorded Haringey as having 2,933 households in temporary accommodation.

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Of those, 2,588 were households with dependent children.

A report published by Haringey Council this week said the number of empty properties was fast rising.

Between October 2018 and October 2019, empty homes rose by more than 35 per cent from 732 to 996.

In the last eight months, the figure has risen by another 20pc, to 1,188.

The council branded the situation “unacceptable” and said its ambition was to “bring all empty homes back into use”.

In a report, it stated: “Where owners of empty homes cannot be traced, or they are unwilling to work with us in a meaningful way towards bringing their property back into use, we will not hesitate to use the range of enforcement powers available to us. These include Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs), enforced sale and CPO.”

EDMOs permit a local authority to take possession – but not ownership – of a property for up to seven years and install tenants in it.

The council has published plans to top up its existing £1million CPO fund with an extra £5million in next year’s budget, so it can forcibly buy up unused properties.

Council leader Joseph Ejiofor said: “This council is committed to bringing empty homes back into use as quickly as possible. We have also put stringent measures in place to free up unoccupied properties in Haringey, to ensure much-needed housing is made available to our residents. We have taken a tough stance on this and will continue to do so.”


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