With more than 1,000 long term empty homes in Thanet, TDC has announced a crack down on empty houses.
The council already helps bring more empty properties back into use than any other council in Kent, recognising that homes which stand empty or derelict can have a detrimental effect on neighbourhoods.
They are they unsightly and can also be a magnet for criminal and anti-social behaviour such as squatting, arson, graffiti and fly-tipping.
Empty homes have the potential to impact on the value of neighbouring properties by creating an impression of a neglected community in decline.
The growth of the local population has increased the pressures on the existing housing stock which means many residents do not have access to good quality housing.
Despite the rising demand, there are still over 1,000 long term empty homes in Thanet according to council tax records.
The campaign to reduce the number of long term empty homes will kick off with determined efforts to offer advice and assistance to property owners.
This includes raising awareness of interest free loans that are available to facilitate upgrades and repairs to homes that have been empty for six months or more.
The loans of up to £25,000 per unit are offered in partnership with Kent County Council through its No Use Empty initiative.
In cases where an informal approach is unsuccessful, the council will not shy away from using the wide range of legislative powers at its disposal to ensure empty homes are brought back into residential use.
Cllr. Rev. Stuart Piper, cabinet member for housing and open spaces, said: “My predecessor, Cllr Lin Fairbrass has had significant successes over the last two years working hard with the dedicated team at Thanet District Council and I would like to pay tribute to her and the team for their commitment and dedication.
“We are very proud of our direct intervention work which makes a real difference for local people.
"We are determined to continue our proactive stance in tackling long term empty homes.
"Thanet has a very diverse housing stock and seeing properties empty and unused is a real shame. I would encourage anyone who has an empty home to contact the council for assistance.”
Anyone who wants to make the council aware of an empty home or who owns one and would like advice, is encouraged to call the Private Sector Housing Team on 01843 577059 and ask for the empty property officer or send an e-mail to the council’s new dedicated email address: email@example.com