The council plans to help bring Cardiff’s privately owned, empty houses back into use.

More than a thousand homes left empty in Cardiff are “blighting communities” and worsening the city’s housing crisis. Cardiff currently has 1,355 private sector homes which have been left empty for more than six months, according to the latest figures.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Councillor Lynda Thorne said: “Long-term empty homes are a wasted resource. This is a matter which has been thrown into sharper focus by the pandemic and the housing crisis”.

Cardiff has seen a decrease in empty dwellings overall however Lynda says “It’s clear that we need a focus and some fresh policies which can help get these properties back in use, housing people and families”.

In Cardiff, owners of unfurnished properties which have been empty for longer than 12 months are charged a premium rate of council tax at 150% of the assessed rate. The money generated from this charge is ring fenced for the Housing Department and used to help bring empty properties back into use.

Wales 247 lists details of the new policy and says it aims to encourage owners to return the properties to use while maintaining good relationships with homeowners by providing advice and assistance, including an annual mailshot to all owners providing tailored advice while opening a dialogue on the future of their empty property. Owners will be directed towards developers, housing associations or the Council’s own leasing scheme to help bring properties back into use Furthermore, the council will promote the council houses into Houses Loan Scheme, deal with complaints and carry out enforcement to deal with insecure properties or dilapidation.

Cllr Thorne added: “Bringing these types of properties back into use, allied to our own council house building programme, has the potential to make significant inroads as we look to deliver more affordable housing across the city.”