Homes across Kingston left empty for years
Over 400 homes in Kingston are currently empty, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
The figures, uncovered through Freedom of Information requests, show that there are over 400 homes across Kingston have been empty for six months or more. Of these, 99 had been empty for two years or more, 42 for five years or more, and 16 have stood empty for at least ten years.
Kingston Council has failed to make use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO), powers used by local authorities to take over properties that have been empty for at least six months. This is despite the fact that some local families have spent Christmas without a home.
Nationally only 19 of the 247 councils in England and Wales that responded (the powers do not apply in Scotland) had used an EDMO in the past five years. Of these only six had used one in the past year.
Local campaigner, Olly Wehring, said, “At a time when the homelessness crisis is worsening and more people are sleeping out on our streets in the cold, it is a scandal that so many homes locally are sitting empty."
“It should be a priority for these homes to be turned into affordable places to live for those that need them across Kingston."
“The Government must urgently review the current system, which is clearly not working. Kingston needs to be given the powers and resources to bring empty homes back into use."