Coventry is the latest UK city to step up its efforts to bring empty homes back into use.

The city currently has around 1,661 long-term empty dwellings that have been vacant for more than six months.

Council leaders are now planning to roll out a new empty dwellings strategy to address the issue. These will include the recruitment of a new empty homes officer as well as a push to increase engagement with property owners to bring homes back into use.

The city council’s cabinet member for housing, councillor David Welsh, said: “We know there is a national housing shortage and this strategy is just one way we can help to tackle that shortage in Coventry.

“The policy will focus on empty properties that are becoming an eyesore through neglect or vandalism, or are a target for anti-social behaviour – issues that can have an impact on the whole neighbourhood and affect the quality of life for those who live and work nearby.”

He added: “New housing can’t provide everything, there’s no one easy fix to the housing shortage, so I’m trying to use everything we can to bring properties back into use.

“Ultimately if it’s a private landlord they will want to do something with their property, they don’t want it costing them money. The point of the policy is to try and encourage [owners] if it’s empty for a long time you start to get penalties through council tax and if it falls into disrepair there’s more penalties.”