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South Lakeland Council wins legal bid to 'take' home

image captionThe two-bedroom property in Kendal is being refurbished

A Cumbrian council has won a legal bid to take over a private, empty home and rent it out to a homeless family.

The vandalised house in Kendal is the first South Lakeland District Council has made the subject of a Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO).

So far, only a handful of the orders have been granted in the UK - they allow local authorities to take over a property for up to seven years.

The owner of the house in Mintsfeet Road did not wish to comment.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) is currently refurbishing the property and the cost will eventually be recouped from the rent.

A spokesman for the Liberal Democrat-led SLDC said money left over from renting out the two-bedroom house after the renovation is paid for will be given to the owner, who does not live in the area.

'Drinking den'

Philip Mackareth, who lives in Mintsfeet Road, said: "It's not been pleasant - the house was broken into two years ago and there were teenagers using it as a drinking den.

"My wife was terrified."

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who has campaigned to try and get an estimated 1,000 empty properties in the South Lakes back in to use, welcomed the move.

The Liberal Democrat said: "When I heard that the council had taken over its first empty property I was delighted.

"This is the first step towards helping provide a hard working local family a home."

SLDC said the owner of the property had failed to respond to requests to rent the property out.

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