New figures released this week showed areas of Cardiff with the highest number of empty houses.
Over a thousand properties left empty in the city are exacerbating the growing housing crisis and “destroying communities”.
Cardiff currently has 1,355 private sector homes which have been vacant for more than six months, according to the latest figures.
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That’s a similar figure to the number of homes rented to people on the social housing waiting list last year, underscoring the need to put those empty homes back into service.
Roath is the neighborhood with the most empty properties, with 166 as of April 2019. The Cathays neighborhood, which includes the city center, is the second highest at 140.
Next come Grangetown with 123 and Riverside, including Pontcanna with 110.
Pentyrch had the fewest empty houses with just eight.
Of the 1,355 empty long-term dwellings, 340 have been empty for more than two years, 132 for more than five years and 53 for more than a decade.
Here is the total number of empty houses in each part of Cardiff:
- Plasnewydd (Roath) – 166
- Cathays (including ChÃ¢teau) – 140
- Grangetown – 123
- Riverside (including Pontcanna) – 110
- Penylan – 62
- township – 61
- Splott – 60
- Whitchurch and Tongownlais – 56
- Cyncoed – 50
- Heath – 50
- Adamsdown – 48
- Butetown – 44
- Fairwater – 40
- Llanishen – 40
- Gabalfa – 38
- Rhiwbina – 35
- Llanrumney – 30
- Caerau – 29
- Rumney – 29
- Llandaff – 27
- Pentwyn – 27
- Pontprennau & Vieux St Mellons – 25
- Ely -24
- Llandaff North – 23
- Trowbridge – 23
- Radyr & Morganstown – 21
- Lisvane – 15
- Creigiau & St Fagons – 13
- Pentyrch – 8
Mary McGarry, union adviser for Plasnewydd, which had the most empty houses, said: “I think it’s really bad news, I didn’t know there were so many empty houses. I mean , I reported empty houses that were flagged for me, and I could see them for myself when I was cycling in the room.
âI think it’s a travesty that there are empty houses when there are nearly 8,000 people in our region who are in desperate need of housing, of social housing. parody, I’m all for trying to do something. “
The neighborhood with the second highest number of empty properties was Cathays. Councilor Norma Mackie says she thinks it could be because the area is a high turnover student hub.
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She said: âI wasn’t surprised with the turnover of people living there – we have a lot of students and sometimes alumni who have graduated and are still living in HMOs, and so they are changing. so often.
“It is a very transient population, within Cathays, with the exception of the regular residents, who have lived there for years but there is a huge population that does move every year indeed and sometimes the owners have to do a lot of work. before the properties were active, so I wasn’t surprised because of that.
âI would love to see them live, we have a huge waiting list of families who need homes. Cathays homes provide good family homes and I would love to see them go to families or to those in need.
“It’s a shame that houses are left empty when there are thousands of desperate people looking for housing.”
Earlier this year, Cardiff Council announced the city was in “the middle of a crisis”, with around 8,000 people on the waiting list for social housing and growing demand.
But only 1,600 housing units from the town hall and housing associations become available each year, leaving a lot of waiting for a long time.
And while the Council has said it is working on a “huge and historic” house building program of 4,000 houses, it is now examining how those empty houses can be regenerated and reused.
Cardiff City Council has unveiled a new action plan to encourage, and if necessary force, homeowners not to leave their homes empty in the long run.
Several incentives are used to encourage homeowners to return empty homes to service. These include loans from the Renovation Council, a leasing program run by the United Welsh Council and Housing Association, and the ability for the Taff Housing Council or Association to purchase empty houses. Advice and assistance is also offered to owners.
If the incentives don’t work, the board has a range of fulfillment options for empty homes, including mandatory purchase orders, where the owner is forced to sell the house to the board, who will use it. then as social housing or will sell it to a new owner. Other powers include forced action on issues such as overgrown gardens and rodents.
Councilor Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: âIt is widely accepted that long-term empty homes are a wasted resource. This is an issue that has been highlighted by the pandemic and the housing crisis.
âEmpty properties can attract squatting, vandalism, drug addiction, anti-social behavior, arson and rodents. They can cause damage to neighboring homes and if properties remain empty, the inevitable deterioration impacts neighbors and degrades communities.
âAs Cardiff has seen the number of long-term empty homes decline from 1,568 in 2018/19 to 1,355 now, it is clear that we need focus and new policies that can help restore these properties in service, to house individuals and families. “
Cllr Thorne said: ‘Together with the Welsh Government we have developed an empty house policy and action plan which outlines the help that can be offered to homeowners to encourage them to return empty properties to service since more than six months. . This policy also sets out the enforcement tools available in the event of failure of advice and support.
âWe want to foster good relations with owners and encourage them to restore their properties to their used condition, giving them all the advice and assistance they need to help them do so. Bringing these types of properties back to service, along with our own program of social housing construction, has the potential to make significant strides as we seek to provide more affordable housing across the city. “
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