Find out more about the issues behind our campaigns
Is it fair? – A better private rented sector
The private rented sector in Wales has more than doubled in ten years and now comprises around 14 per cent of the total housing stock.
Reduced access to mortgages, shortages in social housing, and the impacts of the economic downturn and welfare reform have all in recent years contributed to growth in the sector, which is widely expected to continue to grow while other sectors stagnate or shrink.
Recent research by Shelter Cymru has challenged the stereotypical image of private sector tenants as mostly young, child-free, and actively choosing to live in the sector for the flexibility it offers.
In fact, one third of private tenants had dependent children under 18, while tenants who said they were in the PRS only because they had no other choice outnumbered those who said they wanted to be there by four to one. Just 15 per cent chose to live in the PRS.
It is clear that that more people will be making their home in the private rented sector and for longer, so it is essential that the sector is up to standard.
We believe empty properties represent waste, financial expense and missed opportunity for providing much needed affordable housing for people in Wales. They can blight communities, attract fly tipping, vandals and squatters and tie up the resources of the council and the emergency services.
Living next to an empty property can devalue a home by 18%. Unsightly properties deter investment in an area and can lead to decline. The absence of adequate housing whether in terms of quantity, quality or size has also significant adverse impacts upon people’s health.
Studies have shown that the average cost of returning empty homes to a habitable state is between £6,000 and £12,000 per property. Around 2,000 empty homes could be brought back into use for £20m.
Shelter Cymru has been supporting local authorities and their partners to make more effective use of privately owned empty homes to meet housing need, by providing free advice, consultancy and good practice exchanges to accelerate current work in this area. We have produced a Good Practice Guide in partnership with the Welsh Government, which is available from their website.
For more information on Empty Homes in Wales, please read the briefing we produced with the Chartered Institute of Housing in Wales on making the most of empty stock.