Landlords could be fined up to £60,000

In an attempt to clamp down on the number of new homes that are empty councils in London could be given the powers to fine landlords and property investors. These so called Buy To Leave investors will be watching closely as the fines imposed could be as much as £60,000. There have been a growing number of new homes left empty as house prices across London have rocketed particularly on new developments.

Empty homes, a campaigning charity welcomed the news and has been lobbying the government for changes to the law. Currently there are no penalties for landlords with empty homes. The only tax that can be levied is council tax and this can sometimes be as little as £1,000 a year.

The new powers will mean that landlords will have to provide proof that these new home are occupied and this will be a condition on the planning agreement. Local authorities will make it a condition that a new flat will have to be occupied for most of the year or fall foul of the new law.

Half of One development was left empty In Islington alone a recent report carried out by Islington Council showed that just under a third of new homes that were built were left empty. In one particular development over half of the flats were left empty.

This is a source of immense frustration with local people that can’t find a suitable home for their families. They walk past these empty homes everyday and can’t understand why they are unoccupied. It is not just new homes that are to be targeted, local authorities are also looking at ways of bringing dilapidated properties back in use particularly in cities where the housing crisis is acute as workers look for homes close to their places of employment.