THOUSANDS of homes in Kirklees have been sitting empty for years, research has revealed.
The Liberal Democrat party found that there are at least 2,113 homes across the district which have been empty for six months or more.
Of those, 722 have been empty for two years or more, 270 for five or more years and 117 for at least 10 years.
The figures also show that Kirklees Council has not made use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO) – powers which are used by local authorities to temporarily take over properties which have been empty for at least two years.
The news comes as the number of homeless people reported in Kirklees has risen to an estimated 206, including five rough sleepers.
Since coming into effect in mid-2006, EDMOs have only been used by one in 13 councils.
The national Lib Dem party has called for a reform of EDMOs and for local councils to be able to bring long-term empty homes back into use.
Kirklees Lib Dem councillor Cahal Burke said: “It’s a scandal that so many homes across Kirklees are empty at the same time that there is an increasing issue of affordable housing and the number of people who are homeless and sleeping rough is increasing.
“We all need to recognise the issue of homelessness and lack of available affordable housing across Kirklees and look at options for bringing homes back into use urgently.”