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A semi detached, former council house had been vacant for 12 years.

A semi detached, former council house had been vacant for 12 years. The house was structurally in reasonable condition but needed new windows and doors. as well as other works. There were also problems with the gardens, that were overgrown and attracting rubbish, that brought several complaints from neighbours.

The Empty Property Unit (EPU) served notices under Town and County Planning legislation to get the gardens cut back and for the rubbish to be removed. Because the owner did not comply with those notices the work was carried out by the Council. The owner of the house owns another house,  which is also unoccupied and in need of some work to make it suitable for habitation.

The owner of the houses was a single lady who found it difficult to manage the refurbishment of both houses and who was also short of funds to carry out the necessary works of refurbishment. The EPU were considering seeking a Compulsory Purchase Order, but prior to that they offered to purchase the house by agreement with the owner.

The owner agreed to this and with the proceeds of the sale is now able to upgrade her other house,ready for reoccupation.The Council is negotiating sale of the property on to a partner local housing association who, if the purchase is completed, will then be able to let it as an additional unit of affordable housing for the city.

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In South Gloucestershire 181 empty properties were returned to use in 2012/13!
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