The Office of National Statistics recently released figures indicating that the population of England and Wales has shown an increase of 7% in the previous ten years. This increase is the highest since records began.
Councils Target Unoccupied Property Owners
As a result of this, it is expected that tenants or agents that own unoccupied properties can expect reductions to their Council Tax benefits.
Shortage of properties
With almost a quarter of the population of London living in rented accommodation, there are concerns that many more are struggling to find homes. Camden Council has become the first in the capital to announce their intention to cut benefits for those that own unoccupied homes. Moves from the Council are expected to include removing discount on empty properties and reducing the tax-free relaxation period on unoccupied homes.
Camden councillor Theo Blackwell said the moves were to address the number of empty properties in such a popular area. Blackwell said: “Camden has a sever shortage of housing, yet every year thousands of properties are left vacant by private landlords and second homes continue to enjoy a tax break.”
A different tact
Torbay Council in Devon has decided to address the problem of empty properties in a different manner. The Council has created a half-million pound fund to offer money to landlords with empty houses. These properties will then be rented out as council houses in exchange for cash.
Torbay Council are offering landlords up to £10,000 for any repair work to be carried out, on the provision that their property is let as a council house for a period of five years.
Torbay’s deputy mayor, Dave Thomas said: “At the end of five years, the property goes back to the landlord and they can decide whether to continue renting or take it back.”
The scheme being forwarded in Torbay is seen to be welcome to accidental landlords,’= for example, those who have inherited property. In addition, the scheme will be of great assistance to those that have not taken out landlords insurance that covers them in the event of an unoccupied property.