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Caerphilly County Council to tackle ‘high number of empty homes’

CAERPHILLY County Borough Council has said it is committed to tackling the “high number of empty homes”.

Currently there are 1,314 empty private sector homes across the county borough – these have been empty for more than six months.

The report on the Empty Homes Strategy 2023-28 states: “These empty homes represent a wasted resource, an ongoing financial expense, and in many cases a missed opportunity to provide much-needed affordable housing.

“They can also cause blight to communities, cause antisocial behaviour issues and distress to residents affected by their unsightly appearance if the property has been left in a poor state of repair.”

At a housing and regeneration scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday January 31, councillors were told the council would engage with those with empty homes and enforcement action would be the last resort.

At the meeting, Claire Davies, the council’s private sector housing manager, said homes which have been empty for ten years or more will be targeted first.

The council will offer owners an interest-free loan of up to £35,000 to bring the property up to standards.

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Shayne Cook, said: “We understand that long term empty homes not only affect the aesthetics of local communities, but can also become magnets for antisocial behaviour.  We are amidst a national housing crisis and bringing empty homes back into beneficial use is vital in helping to meet need.”

Cllr Shayne Cook

Councillors were told a dedicated website is being created to aid the strategy and provide information to owners.

The council is also looking to enforce an empty homes council tax premium to “incentivise private sector empty property owners into action”. More details on this are expected to be presented to the committee in future.