Over 2,000 empty homes in Sunderland

Over 2,000 homes in Sunderland have been sitting empty for more than six months, according to new figures.

Action call over empty homes.
Action call over empty homes.

Data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) shows 2,010 homes in the area had been unoccupied for at least six months in October – up 34% from 1,503 ten years ago.

The properties deemed long-term empty were among a total of 4,525 vacant homes in the city area.

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Separate DLUHC figures show 310 households in the area were entitled to council support after becoming homeless or being put at risk of homelessness.

Owners of properties which have lain empty for two years or more can be charged an extra 100% council tax on top of their bill – rising to as much as 300% if the home has been empty for a decade or longer.

Nationally, 248,600 of the country’s 676,500 vacant properties have been sitting empty for six months or more – the highest number since 2012.

Chris Bailey, campaign manager with Action on Empty Homes, said: "Nearly 100,000 families are trapped in temporary accommodation, costing the nation over £1.5bn a year.

"A new national empty homes programme is long overdue. The Government needs to step and offer funding and incentives to get these homes back into use."

A DLUHC spokesperson said: "Legislation gives councils power to apply the 100% council tax premium on properties left empty after a year, rather than the current two years. This will provide local leaders with additional flexibility to help address the impacts of empty homes."