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'Blame councils not private landlords for empty homes crisis'

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'Blame councils not private landlords for empty homes crisis'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government

'Blame councils not private landlords for empty homes crisis' 'Blame councils not private landlords for empty homes crisis'

London's private landlords are being unfairly singled out as the source of the empty homes crisis - but local authorities are responsible for huge stocks of desolate property, it has been claimed.

London Central Portfolio Ltd (LCP) cite recent statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government that show in Hackney alone, 46.3% of all empty properties are council-owned.

The Government, says LCP, has targeted central London's private landlords as the main cause of the "scandal", which it has used as a catalyst for Stamp Duty rises for high end property, and was most recently the reason given by Camden Council in its efforts to increase council tax on empty homes.

There are 354,389 families on the social housing waiting list in the capital, but according to the National Housing Federation, the Borough of Tower Hamlets currently has 19.4% of its residents on the waiting list but the council owns 39% of the area's 2,000 empty homes.

LCP points out that though the Empty Homes Agency has identified many vacant properties as being privately owned, it described them as often being homes inherited from elderly relatives which had fallen into disrepair and where "in many cases the owner lacks the funds or the skills to repair and manage the property".

The residential funds and asset management company says that the Government's "ongoing war on wealth" is leading people to believe that Central London is a "domain of the very rich and a ghost town, overflowing with vacant second homes," none of which, it claims, is true.

LCP's chief executive, Naomi Heaton, said: "London’s housing crisis is the result of a generation of failed government schemes. Accountability needs to fall with the authorities rather than sophisticated private landlords. Whilst Planning Minster, Nick Boles MP, is advocating the development of greenfield sites, attention should also be focused closer to home with an initiative to bring empty homes in London’s poorest Boroughs back into use. It will be cheaper, quicker and more sustainable."

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