Latest figures have shown that the number of empty properties has decreased, with more being brought back into use over the past year.
New figures released by the City of Lincoln Council show that, during 2016/17, 16 empty homes were re-occupied, compared to 13 in the previous year.
A house, flat or bungalow that has been empty for as little as six months can easily become an issue – making an area look run down and acting as a magnet for anti-social behaviour, including vandalism and drug-taking.
Empty homes are also often targeted by organised criminal groups, who seek out unoccupied premises across the UK and use these to fraudulently apply for mortgages and loans.
Properties become or remain empty for many reasons, and this is reflected in the wide range of skills within the EPWG. Every case is handled individually and the council offers advice and assistance to help empty home owners, with a range of enforcement powers being used if necessary.
Empty Property Officer Tinashe Mhindu said: “The longest empty property that we have on our radar has been unoccupied for 20 years, and we focus mainly on those that have been empty for two to four years.
“Even those unoccupied for less than two years can attract anti-social behaviour and rough sleepers.
“Where a property has been empty for two years, we use a scoring mechanism to allow us to focus our attention on the 50 empty homes having the most impact on the neighbourhood.
“Scores are based on how long a property has been empty, its internal and external condition and the number of complaints we have received about it.”