Empty homes needed in South Tyneside

South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust is seeking 10 empty homes to transform and bring back into use.

The independent, not-for-profit housing company has already bought and renovated more than 50 properties to be rented out as affordable homes across the Borough.

War on empty homes – Brian Scott, Company Secretary of the Housing Ventures Trust

It is now seeking a further 10 properties after securing additional funding from Homes England.

Brian Scott, Company Secretary of the Housing Ventures Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have received more funding to continue our empty homes programme.

“We’re now identifying another 10 properties to bring back into use.

“These are properties that have stood empty, often in a state of disrepair, for a long time so the response we have from neighbours and local residents is very positive as it gives the entire area a boost.”

The homes are acquired in a number of ways – including those for sale on the open market; after negotiation with owners, or, in some cases, using an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO).

Under the EDMO scheme, derelict homes are refurbished using Government and Council funding and then rented out to local people South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust acting as ‘landlord’.

The team also attends auctions to identify suitable properties.

Winning the war on empty homes

Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Housing and Transport on South Tyneside Council, said: “Empty homes can blight neighbourhoods as they can attract anti-social behaviour and vandalism, especially if they have been left to rack and ruin.

“This process benefits the whole community by giving empty and rundown properties a facelift and addressing the housing need by providing much-needed affordable homes.

“The rental income covers the cost of the renovations and is ploughed back into other properties in need of refurbishment so it is an ongoing process.”

Harriet Nye lives next door to a property in South Shields that was brought back into use by the Trust.

She said: “The house had been empty for a couple of years and was attracting lots of anti-social behaviour; I had to keep reporting it.

“The windows got smashed and in the end it was boarded up, which of course brought down the whole area.

“I think it’s great that it’s been done up and has a decent tenant living in it.”

The properties benefit from works including new roofs, replacement of double glazed windows and doors and new kitchens and bathrooms.

They are also fitted with a highly efficient heating system, loft insulation and low energy light bulbs ensuring the properties are extremely efficient and cost effective to live in.

The Ventures Trust provides new homes for people aged over 55, families living with someone with a disability, plus new and refurbished family and starter homes.