Express & Star

1,000 empty properties turned into new homes for Wolverhampton families

More than 1,000 of empty properties in Wolverhampton have been transformed into new family homes.


As part of a new council drive, the privately-owned houses which had been left occupied, and often in a poor condition, have been brought back into use in the last five years.

The empty property strategy aims to prevent the properties from becoming a blight on their neighbourhood and ensures they are either sold to new homeowners or rented out to tenants.

Specialist housing improvement officers from the council's Private Sector Housing Team have been working with the owners of properties which have been left empty for a long period of time to encourage and support them to carry out any required works and get them occupied once again.

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

The council's deputy leader and city assets boss, Councillor Peter Bilson, said: "Not only is it providing more affordable housing to people in Wolverhampton, but it is also improving the city and helping boost the local economy.

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

"This 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, the value of their properties is increasing and local shops and services are benefitting from new residents occupying the houses – providing a significant boost to the economy.

"This 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 Wolverhampton."

The strategy is part of the council's commitment to enhancing the private rented sector in the city.

Other initiatives include the Private Sector Leasing Scheme, a property management service which is run in association with Wolverhampton Homes.

The scheme can guarantee owners of empty properties rental income for three years.

There is also the Wolverhampton Home Improvement Scheme which offers grants, financial assistance and a handyman service to homeowners aged over 60, on income related benefits or registered disabled.

The authority also gives advice and information to owners about becoming a private landlord, renting out their property and bringing empty properties back into use and maintenance issues, and receives reports from the public concerned about an empty property in their area.

The city is also set to pioneer the way local councils work with private landlords by introducing a new five-star rating system next year to improve the quality of housing.

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