THOUSANDS OF homes in Kirklees have been lying empty for six months or more, figures show.
Housing charity Action on Empty Homes has warned that empty homes reveal the “stark reality” of the country’s “broken” housing market.
In September there were 2,144 long-term empty homes in the area – homes that campaigners say could be brought back into use to help families in need of social housing.
That means half of the vacant properties in the area had been sitting empty for six months or more.
In total, 4,677 properties were found by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to be “unoccupied and substantially unfurnished”.
Action on Empty Homes campaigns to bring more empty properties back into use for people in need of housing.
Its campaign manager Chris Bailey said that many neighbourhoods at the lower end of the housing market are “blighted by empty homes and under-investment”.
He said: “Empty homes are a canary in the coalmine telling us the stark reality of our broken housing market. The time to fix that is now. Every empty home is a wasted opportunity to make a family’s life better.”
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Local authorities have a range of powers at their disposal to tackle long-term empty homes, and we expect them to use them.”
Next year local authorities will have the power to double council tax on homes left empty for two years or more - a premium currently capped at 50%.
In Kirklees the council charged a premium on 670 longer-term empty homes.