Over the past decade the issue of empty properties has gained prominence at both a national and local level.
In Merthyr Tydfil a survey carried out in 2009 identified 514 homes that were classified as long-term vacant properties. A long-term property is defined as empty for 6 months or more. Of that number 169 properties were found to be derelict, neglected and / or in need of repairs.
Long term problematic empty homes are a major cause for concern. They represent waste, financial expense and missed opportunities. They deny homes to those in housing need, which is a particular concern in today’s economic climate. They can blight communities, attract vandals and squatters and tie up the resources of local authorities and the emergency services. Bringing empty homes back into use is a sustainable way to meet future housing demand and helps to alleviate pressure to develop greenfield sites. Living next to an empty property can devalue a home by up to 10%. The Empty Homes Agency estimates that if just 2% of the empty private sector homes were brough back into use, the revenue would exceed £50 million per year. This is a tremendous wasted resource for individual owners and society as a whole.
The Environmental Protection and Housing Enforcement team holds a databse of all vacant properties within the County Borough and has an Empty Homes Strategy, which enables them to proactively tackle empty properties. They also respond to numerous complaints relating to empty properties and take appropriate action against owners where necessary, such action may involve:
- Locating owners of the property
- Securing properties that are open to access
- Cleaning waste and overgrowth from gardens
- Treating for rodents
If you have concerns in respect of an empty property or require further advice or information please use contact information below.