Homes left empty will see council tax doubled under plans by Greenwich Council to help tackle the housing crises.
Currently owners must pay a 50% surcharge if left empty which will now be increased to 100%.
It’ll be welcome news to those suffering poor living conditions as homes lie empty and used as investments.
However, empty home numbers are perhaps overstated. It’s not really in many owner’s interest to leave them empty. Even speculators will prefer rental income either through long term lets or Air BnB type short term lettings.
Not the only cure
There are 205,293 empty homes across the country (as of 2018) which sounds a lot (and would certainly help the crises if occupied) yet this is just 0.9% of total homes and around 18 months shortfall of needed homes.
Every single empty home could be filled and housing demand would barely be scratched. Total housebuilding in the UK is short by 150,000 a year based on levels needed – and levels the UK used to build for much of the 20th century.
So then, welcome news but far from the panacea some see it as. The only way to ensure good living standards is to be build more high quality homes and we are a long way from that.