Carmarthenshire County Council is reducing the number of empty properties within the county through the introduction of the Empty Properties Framework.

Combining enforcement, the implementation of council tax premiums on empty properties and providing support to help owners bring empty properties back into use, the Empty Properties Framework aims to:

• Reduce the number of long-term empty homes across the county
• Increase the supply of affordable housing to meet demand
• Tackle issues relating to property nuisance, blight and the impact on communities

The following case study is an example of how Carmarthenshire County Council is supporting communities and owners to bring empty properties back into use.

An empty property was reported to the Council with loose rendering falling onto a neighbouring driveway and refuse/waste material in the garden. Investigations revealed that the property had been recorded as empty for seven years and was privately owned by a limited company.

The property was visited by the Council’s Empty Homes Officers and scored as high risk (Category A), requiring enforcement. The owners responded positively to the notice served and assisted with the Council’s formal inspection of the property, during which various category 1 (the most serious) hazards were identified.

As a result, statutory notices were served on the property. These notices provided varying timeframes for work to be carried out. In the event of non-compliance, the Council may choose to undertake works, recovering all costs from the owner.

The owner complied with the work which posed an imminent risk and then sold the property at public auction. The Improvement Notices remained with the property when sold. Upon purchase, the new owners immediately began work to improve the property and this is progressing well.

Cllr Linda Evans, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes said: “The introduction of the Empty Homes Framework aims to be bold in bringing about the improvement and occupation of empty homes, increasing the supply and use of housing to all.

Carmarthenshire County Council is committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the county, with various methods of support in place to assist owners of these properties to bring them back into use including financial assistance, subject to eligibility.”

From 1st April 2024, council tax premiums were also introduced on properties empty for more than 12 months to encourage owners to reflect on whether they could make better use of their property.

For more information on the support available to owners of empty properties visit the Council’s website – https://Carmarthenshire.gov.wales/housing