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28 February 2013, 08:19
People who own empty homes in Luton could soon be forced to sell them against their wishes, to help homeless families.
Luton Borough Council have re-launched a campaign to make sure houses aren't standing empty and idle.
They estimate there are 580 properties in the borough that have been empty for six months or more.
They say they are going to work more closely with both homeowners and local residents to tackle the issue, to try and increase the local housing supply and help families on waiting lists for homes. That could include buying the houses using Compulsory Purchase Orders.
People who own empty homes in Luton are being asked to contact the Council for advice and assistance on suitable uses for the property and to discuss the options available.
Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, said: “Properties that are left empty for long periods of time are not only a wasted resource and a financial burden for owners, but they can also attract crime, arson, vandalism, squatting and antisocial behaviour.
“We really want to work with owners and landlords who may be struggling to sell or let out their property as we will be able to advise them how they can bring their property back to the market for financial return.
“We also want to hear from residents who spot empty properties as this will allow us to make contact with the owner to start the process of getting it back into use. Returning empty homes to use will bring much needed housing back into the supply pool and improve the quality of the local area.”