Empty Homes Could Empty Your Pockets

Empty Homes Could Empty Your Pockets

9:56 AM, 26th September 2011, About 13 years ago 1

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"Councils could up the tax on empty properties"

Property investors who let homes stand empty for two years could pay more tax under plans to bring more homes into use.

Thousands of homes are empty across the country awaiting repair or development, often tied up in planning rows.

Now the government is suggesting the owners should pay extra council tax to encourage them to either sell or take in tenants.

The aim of the proposal is to ease waiting lists for families and the homeless in areas where councils and housing associations do not have enough properties.

The plan is to add an extra levy to council tax of up to 50 per cent, but councils can opt for imposing the levy and even how much to charge. The government hopes the new tax would bring in around £50 million extra cash a year for councils.

Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell announced the move as part of the government’s struggle to make extra housing available. He also wants councils to sell derelict homes at cheap prices to buyers who promise to refurbish them.

The minister claimed the scheme – called homesteading – would help families buy their own home, improve empty properties and regenerate run-down areas.

Mr Stunell said he would work with councils to identify areas where it could be introduced in an attempt to “rejuvenate” communities.

More than eight out of ten young adults aged up to 24 want to own their own home by 30 according to the Building Society Association, and the new policy could be the answer for first time buyers.

The quarterly consumer survey shows that 94 per cent prospective first time buyers say that they would ideally have bought by the time they are 35, while 75 per cent would like to own a home in their 20s.

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8:24 AM, 28th September 2011, About 13 years ago

Once again a stick not a carrot aimed at private business to enforce social requirements. And where will the £50mil revenue go? Into providing social housing or just the general pot? It would be so much easier to believe in the motives if these types of policies if they came up with an incentive scheme rather than an entirely unethical blugeon! What about offering reduced council tax for a period of time to facilitate investment in refurbishment on the understanding that the landlord then either sells or takes a social housing tenant for 'x' period. Everybody wins and private individuals and businesses are not being penalised for an issue resulting from government and council housing policies.
And what of decisions around knock-down derelict stock? I'm thinking particularly of this earlier article: http://tinyurl.com/6xqzxto
Until these policies include an upfront commitment and plan to resolve the longer term issues of housing they always ring rather hollow.

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