Improving the private housing sector in North Tyneside

Ensuring the quality of North Tyneside’s private housing sector is at the forefront of a new strategy that has been approved by Cabinet.

At a meeting of Cabinet last night (18 March), councillors approved the authority’s new Private Sector Housing Plan for 2024-2028.

Forming part of the Council’s wider housing strategy, ‘Building a better North Tyneside’, the plan is centred around four key themes:

  • Improving our private rented sector - Build on the Authority’s success by working with and supporting landlords to improve the private rented sector.
  • Tackling derelict and long-term empty properties – Properties that stand vacant for over six months are classed as a long-term empty dwelling.
  • Enabling safe independent living - The Authority is aware that the number of people aged 65 and over will continue to increase in the borough. Those residents prefer to maintain their independence and would like to stay in their own homes for as long as safely possible with help and support when required.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of homes - 22% of carbon emissions in North Tyneside come from the way homes are powered and heated. This plan will provide further support to the work being done by the council towards being carbon net zero by 2030.

An annual plan of activity has been produced against these themes, including several new projects and an innovative partnership with North Tyneside trading company, Aurora Affordable Homes to find solutions for empty homes, piloting in Wallsend Town Centre.

Cllr John Harrison, cabinet member for Housing, said: “As a Council, we have always shown our commitment to ensuring that all our residents can feel safe and secure in high-quality homes.

“A big part of this is ensuring that the private renting sector in our borough is strong, and that we do everything within our gift to ensure that even the homes we don’t own are held to high standards.

“I’m delighted to see this plan approved by cabinet and look forward to seeing the difference that the activity will make in the local housing market, as well as the lives of our residents.”

Work is already underway, with the Council acquiring and demolishing a derelict property on Seymour Street, in North Shields. The property had been vacant for over 20 years and had become an eyesore in before its demolition but is now set to be landscaped to improve the appearance of the area.

North Tyneside has the lowest rate of empty homes in the North East, and this number has reduced by 35% since 2019, with 60 brought back as affordable homes. This trend is set to continue and every owner of a long-term empty property in the borough has been contacted by the Council to help find a solution for the properties.

An empty homes premium was approved at Full Council in November 2023 and is set to come into effect from April 1, 2024, opening up further opportunities to encourage owners of empty properties to return them to use.

Support for residents to make their homes more carbon friendly is available and already over 300 homeowners have worked with the Council to improve the energy efficiency of their homes with measures like air source heat pumps, solar panels and insulation replacements.

And the plan supports North Tyneside Council’s ambition to create 5,000 affordable homes by 2030. To date, over 2,300 homes have been built and the Council’s Housing Revenue Account business plan allocates a further £205m to build new social rented homes.