Over 1100 homes across Wales have been empty for 10 years or more research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. These homes are part of the over 22,000 empty homes in Wales.
Only three Local Authorities in Wales have made use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO), powers used by Local Authorities to take over properties that have been empty for at least two years. This is despite the fact that some local families have spent Christmas without a home.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:
“Empty homes are a blight on their communities. At a time when the homelessness crisis is worsening and more and more people are sleeping out in the cold on our streets, it is a scandal that so many homes remain empty.
“The current system clearly isn’t working. Wales urgently needs a national strategy from the Welsh Government to end this empty homes crisis. Councils must be given the powers they need to bring empty homes back into use. Councils, Welsh Government and the UK Government must address the issue of empty homes together as part of a wider package to tackle homelessness and the housing crisis.
“Access to safe and affordable housing is essential to create opportunity for people across Wales. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have a proud record of creating affordable housing and we will continue to fight until everyone in Wales has access to the quality housing they need.”
Cllr Joe Carter, Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor for Pentwyn said:
“With over 6000 homes unoccupied for over two years and 1100 for at least ten years, these figures are a clear illustration that local authorities across Wales must do more to bring empty homes back into use.
“Local authorities should seek to buy empty properties and utilise compulsory purchase when necessary. Local authorities already have a duty to work with the private sector to rehouse residents and local authorities need to do more to persuade the owners of empty homes to rent them out to those that desperately need them.
“Wales urgently requires more affordable housing. Building more housing is an essential part of the solution, but bringing empty homes back into use can also play a key role in increasing the affordable housing supply.”