The government is being urged to do more to address the ‘scourge’ of empty homes in England by supporting buy-to-let landlords willing to invest in bringing them back “into long term use”.
Fresh figures show that the number of empty homes in England increased by almost 30,000 between October 2017 and October 2018 to exceed 634,000 units, which is why various organisations have suggested that a tax on vacant properties should be introduced in order to dissuade people from keeping hold of mothballed property.
Of the 634,000-plus vacant homes, the number of properties classed as being empty for six months or more increased by over 10,000 from more than 205,000 in October 2017 to over 216,000 in October 2018.
With the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors having warned that the supply of new homes for private rent “continue to dwindle” whilst tenant demand increases, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) wants to see the introduction of a pro-growth tax measure that would encourage buy-to-let landlords to invest in empty properties with a view to renting them out.
The representative body is urging the government to abolish its additional stamp duty levy on the purchase of new homes to rent where landlords invest in long-term empty homes and bring them back into use within a reasonable period of time.
John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA, commented: “The scandal of empty homes at a time when so many are finding it difficult to access accommodation is just one reason why pro-growth tax is needed.
“The government should support good landlords to do what they have always been good at – investing in property and bringing it back into long term use.”