Liverpool City Council is to contact owners of 1,000 vacant houses to encourage them to bring their properties back into use as quickly as possible.
Housing officers will offer support and advice whilst informing owners that enforcement action will be taken where appropriate.
The worst 1,000 houses were prioritised according to whether they fell within one of the target areas identified in the city's Empty Homes Plan; the impact the property is having in an area; the level of complaints received; and the level of outstanding debt owed to the council.
There are in total around 16,000 empty houses in Liverpool, with many streets boarded up through successive council administrations.
Cllr Ann O'Byrne, member for housing, said: "We are absolutely determined to bring empty homes across the city back into use and provide valuable homes for our residents. Identifying and targeting this hit list is a hugely important part of our work to achieve that.
"Properties left vacant blight our neighbourhoods and are a wasted resource. They can lead to a reduction in overall property values and can deteriorate rapidly, causing real problems for the community – including the accumulation of rubbish, vermin infestations, the risk of injury to children who enter buildings and arson."
The council aims to deliver 5,000 new and refurbished homes for the city by 2016. It has also published a list of pledges on landlord issues:
- Adoption of minimum standards for private rented housing
- Free voluntary register for landlords to encourage better communications with the council
- Landlord accreditation scheme and 'Scores on the Doors' service to recognise good landlords
- Incentives for landlords who manage properties well, including access to renewal funding
- Dedicated website for landlords and tenants and confidential freephone line where people can report unregistered or poor quality landlords
- Landlords Advisory Group, comprised of landlords, letting and managing agents
- Rogue Landlords Hit Squad, which will seek out and investigate poor landlords and take appropriate action
The city was awarded £13.5m in Clusters of Empty Homes funding in May which will bring over 700 empty homes back into use, including in the Anfield and Welsh Streets areas of the city.