District bosses to take action on empty homes


- Credit: Archant

Owners of empty homes in Exmouth could face legal action, unless they take steps to bring their properties back into use.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) says there are 102 long-term empty properties in the town – 45 in its Town ward, 36 in Littleham, nine in Halsdon, seven in Brixington, and five in Withycombe. There are also 40 in Budleigh, and nine across Woodbury and Lympstone.

The totals are made up of homes that are on the market but not sold, homes where the owner has died and relatives are going through the legal process, and homes that have been intentionally left empty by owners hoping to turn a profit once prices increase.

Measures in a new strategy to tackle the district’s vacant dwellings – of which there are 467 in total - include obtaining court orders to sell dilapidated properties and effectively seizing homes through a compulsory purchase.

EDDC bosses are due to consider its new Empty Homes Plan when they meet next week. It focuses on working with owners of long-term empty properties to return them to use, but also includes enforcement action options, which can be used as a last resort.

In a foreword to the document, Councillor Jill Elson, EDDC’s portfolio holder for sustainable homes, writes: “Empty homes are a wasted asset - especially when there are so many people looking for homes to live in.”