A crackdown on unused or derelict homes being put to waste has been started by Slough Borough Council (SBC).
Notices of compulsory purchase orders (CPO) were dished out last month to the owners of three Slough homes, two of which have been empty since the turn of the century and the other since 1990.
CPOs allow councils and other bodies to claim ownership of land or properties without the owner's consent.
The council's compulsory purchases of the homes in Bath Road, Dawes Moor Close and Warwick Avenue are the first examples of SBC's new 'lose it or use it' policy to free up residential space in Slough.
The homes chosen last month were the first of seven unused homes which have been flagged by the council.
SBC says it has exhausted all other avenues in getting them back into use.
A council spokeswoman said: "We are on the hunt for other properties like these where people are leaving perfectly good homes to rack and ruin."
SBC commissioner for housing and urban renewal Cllr Zaffar Ajaib (Lab, Central) said: “In an area like Slough where housing is at a premium and more homes desperately needed, there is no reasonable excuse for homes to be left to rot.
"We promised we would get these properties back into use, back to being the homes they deserve to be for local families and this is the next step.
"These properties have been empty for years and have been the subject of numerous complaints from neighbours due to the state of them.
"Properties left to deteriorate like this attract anti-social behaviour like squatting, unpleasant smells and fly-tipping and rats due to the overgrown gardens and rubbish dumped there.
"They are eyesores on their neighbourhoods and cause misery for residents and, as there seems to be no prospect of properties like this being brought back into use voluntarily, we have stepped in."
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