Birmingham & Black Country

Hundreds of Solihull homes empty for more than six months

Empty derelict house
Image caption The number of properties unused for less than half a year has risen by 81 to 496

More than 500 homes in Solihull have been empty for more than six months, councillors have been told.

The Conservative-controlled authority has been working to get unoccupied ones used, after concerns some were becoming eyesores or at risk of attracting anti-social behaviour.

In total, the number of properties unused for less than half a year has risen by 19.5% to 496.

The Liberal Democrats questioned officers on steps being taken.

Figures presented to a cabinet portfolio meeting on Monday suggested there had been progress over properties empty for the longest period of time.

Latest statistics showed the number of homes which had been empty for more than six months had fallen by 20 compared with a year earlier, with 536 around the borough.

Cabinet member for resources and delivering value Robert Hulland said over the years members had been "concerned" by the number of empty properties.

He said: "We have seen positive steps in getting houses back into use.

"It's not just the fact that these properties are empty, it's the impact on neighbours and the anti-social behaviour which can occur."

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group John Windmill argued other councils "were more advanced" in their efforts to tackle the issue.

Some of the common reasons a property might lie empty for a lengthy period of time include a resident being admitted to a hospital or care home or the owner having passed away.

Councillors were told in some cases, people who had lost a loved one found it a struggle to deal with the process for selling the property on.

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