41 homes in Reading have been sitting empty for five years or more, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
The figures, uncovered through Freedom of Information requests, show that there are over 200,000 homes across the country that have been empty for six months or more. Of these, 61,000 have been empty for two years or more, 24,000 for five years or more, and 11,000 have stood empty for at least ten years.
Local councils can make use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO), powers to take over properties that have been empty for at least two years.
In Reading some 463 are empty, of which 171 have been empty for more than two years. These properties could be better used to provide stop-gap homes for families struggling in unsuitable temporary accommodation.
Commenting, Reading Lib Dem Councillor Ricky Duveen said:
“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 locally are sitting empty.”
“These homes could be turned into affordable places to live for those that need it across our town.”
“The Government needs to urgently review the current system which is clearly not working and councils need to be given greater powers and more resources to bring empty homes back into use much more quickly.”
Image credit: David Locke.