Ms A Forster, the Empty Homes Officer was welcomed to the meeting to speak about the work to support the return of empty homes back into use.
To the end of quarter 2 there had been a net reduction of 130 properties (1615 to 1485) throughout the Borough identified as requiring a variety of support. Whilst the figures for quarter 3 were still awaited, in quarter 2, 171 properties had been brought back into use with 79 more within the pipeline.
Within the Dearne, financial assistance and enforcement action was being taken and other initiatives such as the Berneslai Purchase and Repair Scheme, Humankind Housing and 3rd Sector were ensuring that properties were brought back into use where possible. In total, 17 had been brought back into use and a further 17 were in progress.
Information was also provided in relation to individual properties that had been the subject of enforced sale or where action was being considered/taken.
Reference was made to the ways in which vacant/void properties (and particularly those with absentee landlords) were identified and appropriate action taken.
Officers were working closely with all Council Departments in order to take appropriate action with empty property owners.
It was noted that consideration was being given to a revamp and relaunch of the accreditations scheme so that landlords and tenants were more aware of what the Council was able to offer. Arising out of this discussion reference was also made to the action being taken to avoid properties in some areas being targeted by Anti-Social Behaviour.
A free event was being planned for the12th February, 2019 at the Barnsley Metrodome to which landlords and agents would be invited. This was being organised in association with the National Landlord Association and presentations would be made by, amongst others, DWP on Universal Credit, the National Energy Action Team on energy efficiency. Humankind, BMBC Waste Management and Berneslai Homes would also be in attendance. Members of the Council were also welcome to attend this event.
RESOLVED that the Empty Homes Officer be thanked for her work in the area, for attending the meeting and answering Members questions.