Brighton Labour group leader criticises 'charter for squatters'

Posted On 14 Jan 2011 at 1:42 am

Fewer empty homes in Brighton and Hove will be brought back into use if the government relaxes the law, a local Labour politician have warned.

Gill Mitchell, leader of the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council, said that councils could deal with homes left empty after six months.

But under proposals put forward by the government, the council would have to wait for two years before it could act.

Councillor Mitchell said: “What the Tories have done here is drawn up a charter for squatters.

“It is madness and it will quite rightly be an issue of huge concern to Brighton residents, especially those who live near by or next to an empty home.

“Labour believes more empty homes should be brought back into use, not less, to ease the shortage of local housing.

“This new Tory ruling will mean that houses stay empty and remain a worry for affected neighbours for a longer period of time.

“The Tories just aren’t listening to local people on issues like housing and Brighton deserves better.”

She said that the previous Labour government had brought in the existing rules to increase the amount of housing available and to protect homes from squatters and vandals.

Councils could step in after six months, she said, if a home remained empty and all reasonable efforts to contact the owners had been exhausted.

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