ALMOST 850 homes are standing empty in the Vale of Glamorgan with some becoming a “magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour,” the council has said.

The council says a total of 846 properties in the Vale are classed as “long term empty” after spending six months or more unoccupied. Of those, 311 have been empty for more than two years.

Landlords will be given incentives to bring long term empty properties into use as the council says they attract crime and anti-social behaviour, drive down values and become “detrimental to the lives of residents”.

Measures are set out in a draft strategy which the council’s cabinet, on July 15, agreed to publish for public consultation. 

While the council wants landlords to accept help to get homes in use, the strategy says the authority will take action if necessary.

Vale council deputy leader Cllr Lis Burnett told the meeting she was “stunned” more than 300 homes in the Vale have been empty for more than two years.

“It’s absolutely staggering,” she said. “A strategy on a way we can tackle it is very welcome. Empty properties are detrimental to the lives of local residents.

“They are often a magnet for crime and continue to blight neighbourhoods. They can also be a risk to emergency services.”

Some 47 Vale properties have been empty for more than 10 years, but most long-term empty properties are vacant for six months to two years. In April 2019, the St Augustine’s ward in Penarth had the most long-term empty homes, with 77 empty for more than six months and 32 for more than two years.

Penarth’s Plymouth ward had more than 50 empty for more than six months, and more than 20 empty for more than two years.

The proposed strategy calls on the council to maintain and improve its empty homes data, provide financial incentives to landlords, prioritise empty homes for enforcement action such as enforced sales and compulsory purchase orders, and to raise awareness of the issue of empty homes.

The strategy says: “A voluntary way forward to renovation and re-occupation is always the preferred option, and officers make all available endeavours to encourage and persuade such progress.

“However, in instances where owners cannot be traced or where exhaustive attempts to encourage and promote progress from known owners prove unproductive, or if there is an imminent risk to health and safety, there is little option but to proceed with a statutory solution,”

The draft empty homes strategy will be put to public consultation after the council’s August recess.