Thousands of Sheffield properties stand empty while 150 families face eviction

Thousands of properties stand empty in Sheffield each year, while more than 150 households in the area continue to be faced with homelessness.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 11:51 am

Figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show there were at least 4,774 empty properties in Sheffield at the most recent count in October – up four per cent from 4,585 last year.

Of those, 2,842 had been gathering dust for six months or more, and at least 997 had been abandoned for more than two years.

The figures, which cover properties subject to council tax, also show 946 dwellings in the area were listed as second homes last month.

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Thousands of residential properties stand empty in Sheffield - and have done for months.

This comes as data also emerged showing that more than 150 families in Sheffield have been threatened with homelessness by landlords using ‘no-fault’ eviction powers since the Government pledged to scrap them two years ago.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities data shows 179 households in Sheffield were at risk of homelessness after they were served with a valid section 21 notice between April 2019 and June 2021.

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They made up part of the 30,350 households who needed housing help for this reason across England during the period.

In April 2019, former Prime Minister Theresa May promised to abolish section 21 eviction notices – also known as no-fault evictions – which allow landlords to evict a tenant at short notice and without a reason, such as breach of terms.

However, the White Paper which will set out long-awaited reforms to the private rental sector – originally expected to be published this autumn – has now been delayed until next year.

Housing campaigners say no-fault evictions are unfair and mean people's lives can be uprooted at the ‘landlord's whim’.

They have also called for abandoned dwellings to be repurposed to tackle England's housing crisis, after councils across the country recorded hundreds of thousands of empty homes.

The Local Government Association has called on the Government to give local authorities greater powers to acquire empty homes.

A spokesman for the LGA, which represents councils, said: “At a time when we face a chronic housing shortage across the country and high levels of homelessness, it is wrong for so many homes to be left empty.”

Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Housing Association have been contacted for comment.

Across England, the number of empty homes – dwellings that are unoccupied and unfurnished – fell by 2 per cent to 468,000, while the number of second homes dropped by 4 per cent to 253,300 after rising by the same percentage in October last year.