Long-term empty homes that are “blighting the community” are being targeted by Haringey Council.

The authority is looking to bring empty properties back into use and is reviewing 284 homes that have been vacant for two to five years.

It has 28 empty homes within an enforcement process, and at least eight of these will either be subject to enforced sale or a compulsory purchase order (CPO) – a legal tool that allows local authorities to acquire property without the owner’s consent.

Councillors received an update on the empty homes policy during a meeting of the housing and regeneration and scrutiny panel on Tuesday.

The civic centre focuses on empty homes that have become run down and are contributing to crime and antisocial behaviour or are targets for vandalism and arson.

It normally uses informal measures to encourage owners of vacant properties to take action but can use enforced sales or CPOs when this fails.

Lynn Sellar, private sector housing manager at Haringey Council, told the meeting a large number of properties were exempt from enforcement action, such as second homes, “substantially furnished” properties and homes whose owner is in residential care.

Khaled Moyeed, a member of the committee, asked whether “expensive flats” left vacant after being bought by overseas buyers were included on the council’s list of empty homes.

Lynn said some of those properties could be on the list but pointed out that empty homes attract a council tax premium that “brings in a lot of revenue for the council”, adding that the authority needed to “weigh up the need of the borough and the likelihood of that property providing a home for somebody rather than it sitting empty”.

She said the main purpose of the council’s enforcement action was to “target those particular properties that are blighting the neighbourhood”.

Under questioning from committee chair Matt White, Lynn said homes that were bought up using the CPO process were sold on to other buyers rather than being used as council housing.

She added that it was not “legally impossible” to use them as council homes, but the types of properties being targeted were out of remit in terms of the money it would take to purchase and redevelop them.

However, Dana Carlin, cabinet member for housing services, private renters and planning, signalled this could change. She said she would look into the matter, as she was aware of the need to acquire properties.

Committee member Mark Blake said the council should consider targeting homes on new developments that are bought up and left empty.

Cllr Carlin said most new builds were bought privately and rented out rather than being left empty but agreed that council would have to “keep an eye on” the issue.