Move to compulsorily purchase empty houses to provide rental units

20 October 2020 | Renting

Move to compulsorily purchase empty houses to provide rental units

The Welsh Government wants to reform compulsory purchase powers – meaning any landlord with a long-term empty property in the region is at risk of having it seized if current consultation proposals become law.

A statement from the Cardiff-based administration says it wants to “streamline and modernise compulsory purchase procedures to support recovery from the pandemic and bring forward land to increase the supply of affordable housing” – a key priority for the Welsh Government.

The change will specifically apply to Empty Dwelling Management Orders. 

The Welsh Government estimates there are currently 30,000 long-term empty homes in Wales, with substantial volumes of vacant land too, which could be regenerated to increase housing supply and improve local communities.

In March £15.2m was allocated to tackle 66 of the worst empty properties across Wales and bring them back into use – mostly for future letting in the social rental sector. 

Minister for Housing and Local Government Julie James says: “In towns and villages across Wales, we see empty homes, former commercial properties and vacant land – which can often be a huge blight on local communities. 

“Improving the delivery of homes in the right locations through the planning system is critical and we are determined to do everything we can to help build the homes people want, and help create jobs closer to people’s homes.

“The Welsh Government has put placemaking at the heart of the planning system in Wales and believes compulsory purchase powers are an important action tool which can help support local authorities and communities recover from the Covid-19 crisis.  

“Used properly, compulsory purchase powers can contribute towards effective and efficient regeneration, the revitalisation of communities, placemaking, and the promotion of business, leading to improvements in quality of life.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.