Empty homes in Leeds get new life

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A 19th century terraced house which lay empty for 15 years is one of 3,000 properties that have been brought back to life in Leeds.

The city council has released the figures to mark Empty Homes Week, which aims to raise awareness of the need to rejuvenate existing housing stock. During the last five years, council investment has seen a huge reduction in the number of homes which are unoccupied.

The 19th-century mid-terrace property on Cross Green Lane was the subject of complaints from neighbours after being uninhabited for more than 15 years. A compulsory purchase order by the council led to the home being sold to a private landlord, who received financial assistance from the Sustainable Communities Investment Programme to undertake renovations and improve its energy efficiency and appearance.

Coun Debra Coupar, executive member for communities.

“This is just one example of a much wider approach to turn around empty properties and provide much-needed homes.

“With significant investment, tackling empty homes continues to be a priority and the results so far speak for themselves - 3,000 fewer empty homes since 2010.”

The council has pledged to keep funding projects including the Empty Homes Doctor, the Leeds Neighbourhood Approach and schemes such as buying back former local authority housing stock.

There are currently 5,491 houses in the city which have been vacant for more than six months.

Owners or landlords can apply for loans of up to £5,000 to help them complete essential repairs which will bring their properties back into use.

Anyone wishing to report an empty property which is causing concern or who wants to apply for assistance should contact the council on arearenweal@leeds.gov.uk.