Fringe Box



First Use of Council Powers to Make An Empty House A Home

Published on: 8 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 9 Jul, 2013
Ash Grove, indicated by the large arrow.

Ash Grove, indicated by the large arrow.

A house in Guildford, which has been empty for over five years, is the first to be brought back into use by Guildford Borough Council using compulsory powers.

The privately-owned property, in Ash Grove, near the Dennis roundabout, is subject to the first Empty Dwelling Management Order in Surrey.

Stephen Mansbridge at Holy Trinity Hall to give his speech to the Guildford Society audience

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge

Council leader Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South & Tongham) said: “This is the first time we have used compulsory powers to bring a home back into use. The property was empty for some time and we tried for several years to persuade the owner to find a solution.

“A long-term empty property is detrimental to the neighbourhood and is often a target for vandalism. It is vital that these homes are used to provide much-needed accommodation for local people.”

The council successfully applied to the Residential Property Tribunal for an order, which enables them to now control the property for up to seven years. The house is said to have been in poor condition and the council have made a number of improvements. They expect to recover the costs through rental income.

The property is now managed by a local agent and is home to a local family.

Cllr Mansbridge added: “We try very hard to support the owners of empty properties. However, if it is not possible to bring a home back into use, we are able to use the compulsory powers to do so.”

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