More than 11,000 homes in the UK have been unoccupied for at least ten years, new research has found. The Liberal Democrats submitted Freedom of Information requests to local authorities across the country and received 276 responses. Figures showed that 216,000 homes throughout Britain have been vacant for six months or more. Some 60,000 of these were found to have been empty for at least two years, while 23,000 had not been lived in for at least five years.
The Lib Dems also found that just one in 13 local authorities are using Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) to take over properties that have been vacant for at least six months.
In addition, the data showed that just 19 of the 247 English and Welsh authorities that responded to the FOI request had used an EDMO in the last five years, with just six using one in the last 12 months.
Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has therefore urged the government to “urgently review the current system”, as it is “clearly not working”.
He insisted that councils need to be given the powers and resources to bring empty homes back into use . This, he argued, must form part of a wider effort to tackle the housing crisis, including building more homes on unused publicly owned land land and cracking down on land-banking.
Mr Cable added that with the UK’s homelessness crisis continuing to get worse, it is a “national scandal that thousands of homes across the country are sitting empty”, as they could be turned into “affordable places to live for some of the most vulnerable people in our society”.