Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting ENFIELD NEWS to 80360, or email us
Derelict homes can help solve Enfield's 'chronic' housing crisis, according to Enfield Council
Enfield Council is hoping derelict properties will help solve the borough’s “chronic” housing crisis.
The council’s empty property department is urging owners of the borough’s 2,000 empty or dilapidated properties to sign up to a scheme which provides affordable homes.
Home owners can receive council grants to cover up to 80 per cent of renovating a property – at a cost of up to £25,000, if they rent the property through a housing association for five years.
The council hopes the scheme is a step towards providing homes for some of Enfield’s 1,966 families waiting for permanent accommodation.
Councillor Ahmet Oykener, cabinet member for housing, is supporting the project, although he does not believe it can solve all the borough's housing issues.
He said: “The solution is for the Government to take a big step and think about social housing more seriously.
“We need support from central Government and it needs to realise there is a chronic problem.
“It needs to support the affordable houses being built because we feel we are on our own.”
He said empty properties can be unsafe in the borough’s high streets and they can encourage squatting, which was made illegal last month.
Cllr Oykener also highlighted vermin as an issue in Enfield’s empty properties, which he believes the scheme can go some way to solving.
Approximately 50 private properties a year are renovated through the project, which has been running for approximately ten years.
However, the council is encouraging people to report empty properties to enable more to be restored.
Empty property officer at Enfield Council, Dave Carter, who appears on BBC TV’s morning programme Britain’s Empty Homes, believes the project is a positive way to tackle the borough's housing issues.
He said: “There is a general shortage of housing but it has become more acute over the past 12 months, meaning rents have been driven up.”
If a property has been empty for six months or more, the council has powers to make a compulsory purchase.
However, Mr Carter said: “We do have considerable powers but we prefer, wherever possible, to trace owners and work with them.”