Sunderland's empty homes to be transformed into council houses as authority aims to clear streets of problem addresses
Hundreds of empty homes across Sunderland are to be turned back into places to live – one by one.
Housing chiefs have drawn up plans to turn 362 properties across Wearside into houses into decent accommodation once more as part of a wider five-year plan to invest £59 million into housing projects across the city.
The scheme will also see new bungalows and supported accommodation set up, with the aim of creating 574 new affordable homes overall as efforts are made to help those most in need of homes get a roof over their heads.
Sunderland City Council says it recognises more must be done to tackle the issue of empty homes, which have a negative impact on those around them.
It has highlighted that these are often one or two houses in isolation, and are scattered across the area, with a range of measures drawn up to get to the root of why they are not being lived in and help bring them back into use again.
While absentee or rogue landlords are an issue, it says properties are sometimes tied up in legal matters between family members, with letting agents who work with investors to encourage those from the region to invest, rather than funders without a vested interest in the region’s prosperity.
To back this up, it is looking to strengthen its landlord accreditation scheme, impressing on potential tenants how this can help them chose the best place to live.
It will also work alongside other housing providers to look at properties they could support, while the next generation could be taught skills by helping in the restoration and regeneration of properties.
Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, cabinet member for housing and regeneration, said: “At the moment, we have got areas where they have suffered decline and from antisocial behaviour generally and that can make a difference to the community and perceptions of it and it also has an impact on other public services.
“We want to make sure we are dealing with it as well as we can and that these properties can be a positive asset in our city, rather than a drain.”