East Lothian residents call for property improvements

Residents of some homes in East Lothian are calling on the local community to demand the upkeep of buildings in the area as they increasingly find property near their homes falling into dangerous disarray.

Families with properties on Silver Street and Church Street are demanding that absentee owners be required to repair and renovate their properties in order to prevent further danger and deterioration.

One resident, Denise Kerr, lives in an apartment beneath assembly rooms abandoned more than ten years ago.

She told the East Lothian Courier: "We have a ‘Newcastle clause’ in the deeds that gives full ownership of the roof to the property upstairs.

"But because of its condition I can’t let kids out the back garden to play because slates fly off the roof."

Paul Zochowski, a local development planning officer, advised that an application had been submitted to turn the derelict property into a private house.

Earlier this week housing minister Yvette Cooper asserted that investors buying property but leaving it empty as a capital investment were exacerbating the housing crisis by preventing the homes being occupied by other residents.
She told the Mirror: "I am concerned about buy-to-leave rather than buy-to-let. There is a problem if investors are buying up lots of property on a speculative basis and are not renting them out."
She called on councils to take "strong action" in pressuring landlords who do not attempt to lease their properties.