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Ghost homes haunting central London

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Ghost homes haunting central London

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

Empty home Empty home

Image: Empty home via Shutterstock

So-called ghost homes - those left empty for six months or more - are outpacing new homes in central London,

Several of the capital's boroughs have recorded the largest increases in the number of long term empty homes in England.

The top three increases have been in Camden, Kensington and Chelsea and Hounslow. Three other boroughs feature in the top 10 list of local authorities to see a rise in empty homes.

London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson has now called for urgent action to deal with the problem.

He has supported mayor Boris Johnson's call for council tax to be raised to 10 times the existing level for homes left empty.

New figures, based upon analysis by the Empty Homes Agency, reveal:

 

New empty

New build

“Net” effect

Kensington & Chelsea

485

30

-455

Camden

518

430

-88

Harrow

214

150

-64

Hounslow

410

370

-40

City of London

26

0

-26

Darren Johnson AM said: “I’m surprised at the rise in empty properties in London, which is happening despite the rapidly growing population and the pressures on the housing market. I’m concerned that some of the rise in central London is driven by investors buying up homes as 'buy to leave properties', rather than people buying them to live in.

“The government changed the rules to make it harder for local authorities to take action against empty properties and has limited the council tax rises on empty properties to a 150%. These low penalties haven’t stopped the rise in the number of empty homes. The mayor needs to lobby the government to allow local authorities to increase council tax to a level where they change the behaviour of these buy to leave investors.

“Action needs to be taken to stop the scandal of empty properties. The government needs to restore the power of local authorities to take action to seize any properties which remain empty for no good reason and for them to be able to start the process at six months, rather than leaving properties empty for years. The mayor needs to stop supporting rich investors and press the government to take action which will help the majority of Londoners get a home they can afford.”

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