Sunderland City Council has announced its determination to tackle the issue of long-term empty properties on Wearside.

A key priority in the council’s City Plan is to transform disused properties into family homes.

The council is seeking to purchase empty homes in the Millfield area, working in partnership with housing provider ‘Thirteen’.

Under this scheme, such properties will be renovated then made available to the public at affordable rents.

Sunderland City Council is also working with housing developer Gentoo, on a scheme which involves tracking down the owners of disused properties. It is hoped these properties can be purchased, refurbished and offered at affordable rents.

In addition, the council is supporting Empty Homes Week, a campaign by the charity Empty Homes, which aims to bring more vacant properties back into use and to improve housing conditions.

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Cllr Rebecca Atkinson, said, “We are committed to bringing even more long-term empty properties back into use, building on the successful partnership working in communities like Hendon and Millfield to improve the standards of rented accommodation across the city.”

“This is part of the first phase of a targeted approach announced at full council earlier this year to reduce the number of empty properties across our city, with other projects in place aimed at all those we have identified with our housing partners.”

“Our City Plan is committed to strengthening and improving life in all our communities, and transforming formerly empty houses and flats into affordable homes for local families is part of that process.”

If you would like more information about the above schemes, or if you would like to report or sell a vacant property, please contact the council.

You should contact either the council’s senior housing officer Lisa Ketley – on 0191 561 1636 or at – or housing officer Lucy Smith on 0191 561 1628 or at

In other housing-related news, a recent survey has found that the north east’s rents are among the cheapest in the country.

Durham City is England’s least expensive city to rent in. Sunderland’s rents are the eighth cheapest in England while Newcastle’s are the 11th cheapest.

(Featured image courtesy of Ellen Thomson, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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