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Empty houses may be used for homeless; 13.

Byline: TariqTahir

COUNCILS could soon have the power to take empty properties off their owners and move in the homeless.

Last year 18,734empty homes were reported in Liverpool,nearly one in ten of the total housing stock. Wirral has 6,493, Sefton 4,433 and Knowsley 2,700.

The Government yesterday published ideas for tackling the problem, including renting empty properties to people in need of homes. The properties would be returned to their owner at an agreed time in good condition.

Housing Minister Tony McNulty said: ``Empty homes blight communities. They are a magnet for vandals and tie up the resources of local authorities and the emergency services. ``Bringing them back into use will provide much-needed housing and reduce the impact of development on urban fringes and the countryside.

``Everybody wins because this policy targets wasting assets,making them useful again for those who need them most.''

The consultation paper puts forward a range of options that would allow local authorities to take temporary management control of privately owned circumstances. This power would act as a back up to voluntary leasing schemes,already operating in some areas, without unduly penalising owners.

The Minister said leasing can work well where a property needs to be renovated.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 27, 2003
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