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3 December 2016, 09:01 | Updated: 3 December 2016, 11:12
Figures released by the City Council to coincide with Empty Homes Week show that Oxford has 505 empty dwellings, with 247 having been empty for more than six months while one has been vacant for 27 years.
The City Council believes that many of the empty homes will be brought back into use without intervention, which will help mitigate the severe housing shortage in both the social and private rented sector.
Every year the Empty Homes Network and empty property practitioners use this week to highlight the issue of empty dwellings nationwide and locally. In England there are over 200,000 homes that have been empty for more than six months.
The City Council's work to reduce the number of empty homes in Oxford this year resulted in 80 properties being identified as now occupied. The council is also currently pursuing the compulsory purchase of a long term empty home which was last occupied in 1989.
Where an empty property is causing a nuisance, the City Council works with emergency services to remedy issues of concern and to serve notices when necessary. The Council offers support, advice and information to owners on bringing dwellings back into use.
Where an owner is unable or unwilling to bring a property back into use the City Council can ensure it is by issuing an empty dwelling management order (EDMO) allowing it to take over the running of the property for seven years or compulsorily purchase it.
Cllr Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said:
"The severe housing shortage in Oxford means the city can hardly afford to have hundreds of homes lying idle for long periods. When the council first employed an Empty Property Officer in 2005, we had 900 empty dwellings in the city. This reduction is evidence of the work the Council is doing to reduce the number of long-term empty properties and turn them into homes for families and single people living and working in our city."
If you are aware of an empty dwelling, please contact the council's Empty Property Officer