Action is needed to tackle the scandal of ‘buy-to-leave’ investors who are denying Londoners the homes they need.
With almost 57,000 homes in the capital thought to be empty, the next Mayor of London needs to use the powers available to ensure such homes are being used either by landlords who want to offer properties to live in or are available to for purchase by would be home owners.
Whilst Ministers have introduced a wide number of tax changes designed to hit those purchasing additional property, many of these will not affect overseas investors who traditionally buy homes then leave them empty.
The call for action is being made by the Residential Landlords Association in its manifesto for rented housing in London.
The manifesto calls also for new ways to enforce the large number of powers available to councils to protect tenants from criminal landlords and for greater efforts to free up small plots of unused land across London for the development of homes to rent the capital desperately needs.
According to an analysis by the accountants PwC, around 60 per cent of Londoners will be in private rented housing by 2025. The RLA is calling for the new Mayor to work positively with landlords to ensure that these homes are safe, legal and secure by encouraging good landlords to develop new homes.
Commenting, David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:
“With access to decent and affordable housing the number one issue in London, it is a scandal that so many homes lie empty as investors wait to sell them off for a profit.
“The next Mayor needs to use all the powers they have to stamp out this practice, and encourage good, decent landlords to provide the homes to rent Londoners need.”
David Smith continued:
“The majority of landlords provide decent homes to their tenants and are as keen as anyone else to root out the crooks often preying on vulnerable people.
“The next Mayor should work positively with them rather than seeing them as a problem to be dealt with.”
- The RLA represents 40,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.
- A copy of the RLA’s Manifesto for London can be accessed here
- In September 2015 the charity, “Empty Homes” published it statistics on empty homes in England. It found that 56,715 homes stood empty in London. The report can be found here
- PwC’s analysis of housing trends in London can be found here