Currently viewing the tag: "empty properties"
Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

The Politics Of Housing

It is still generally acknowledged by all political parties that there is a housing shortage in the UK, and each political party wants to offer the public alternative methods of tackling the problem in an attempt to win electoral favour.

Most political parties see the housing crisis in the UK as a possible election winning issue and each party’s election manifesto promises the general public many things, including further private rented sector (PRS) reforms and the introduction of additional legislation. There isn’t much offered by any political party for landlords, except for the promise to put an end to the private rental sector.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI research published in January 2015 discovered a confusing conundrum, in that:

  • 75% of the public agree that there is a housing crisis in the UK
  • 48% of the public disagree there is a housing crisis in their locality

The publication of each political party’s election manifesto is intended to give the public a clearer indication of the housing priorities of the UK’s next parliament.

However, despite claims of a housing shortage nationally there are still some UK regions that have large proportions of derelict and abandoned properties, many still in a habitable condition.

Continue reading »

Dramatic Fall In Number Of Empty UK Properties

Dramatic Fall In Number Of Empty UK Properties

UK Empty Property Numbers At All-Time Low

According to campaigning charity Empty Homes, there has been a dramatic fall in the number of empty residential properties in the UK.

The new research shows that the number of empty residential properties in the UK dropped by 75,000 during 2013, the largest-ever annual fall in numbers.

The substantial fall has reduced the total number of empty properties in the UK to 635,127, the lowest recorded level ever, according to campaigning charity Empty Homes.

The biggest falls in the number of empty properties were observed in the North West of England and London.

There was also a large fall in the number of long-term empty residential properties, with figures dropping by over 27,000 to a new record low of 232,600.

Continue reading »

National Empty Homes Loan FundNational Empty Homes Loan Fund To Bring
Empty Properties Back In To Use

A new scheme has been launched to bring almost ¾ Million empty residential properties back into full time use in a bid to tackle the UK’s current housing shortage.

Over 710,000 residential properties are currently lying derelict and empty across the UK, because the owners have not been able to afford to renovate or refurbish them back to a habitable standard.

In a joint venture initiative between Government, 39 participating local authorities, the Empty Homes charity and the Ecology Building Society, the scheme aims to provide loans of up to £15,000 (GBP) to owners of empty residential properties to help bring them affordably back into use.

The fund was one of the demands of last year’s Great British Property Scandal campaign led by architect and broadcaster George Clarke.

Continue reading »

Landlords Suffering Financially Due To Unexpected Costs

A recent survey by a national lettings agency has highlighted financial losses incurred by landlords due to failing to plan for unexpected costs.

Landlords Lose Out Due To Unexpected Costs

Landlords Lose Out Due To Unexpected Costs

Landlords pay an average of £1500 (GBP) per year out of their rental income on covering tenant rent arrears, maintenance and repair bills and void periods; a figure that equates to over £2 Billion (GBP) per year nationally, according to the survey by Northwood.

Continue reading »

Local authorities have the power to charge council tax on all rental properties as soon as they become empty, a critical point that will hit landlords hard and give lettings and property managing agents a massive administrative headache.

It used to be that when a residential property became vacant, the owner was automatically granted a period of six months exemption before council tax was payable.

Some local authorities, such as Durham Council, have already implemented this action and have been collecting council tax on empty rental properties as well as privately owned empty residential properties for a number of months.

With the Class C exemption still under debate, have Durham council jumped the gun?

A spokesperson for Durham County Council reckons not: “We have been applying full council tax liability on all empty properties within the 7 boroughs of our region since April and landlords must understand that revenue is due from all residential properties regardless of whether or not they are lived in.”

Now MP’s want to abolish the mandatory 6 month class C exemption period, for all local authorities across the UK, using the Localism Act.

The Government reckon that there is no compelling reason why the first six months should be treated so generously, so their proposal is to abolish the Class C exemption for council tax purposes and replace the exemption with a clause that would let local authorities charge whatever they wanted on all empty properties for the first six months.

Class C dwellings are empty properties that are largely unfurnished. Other classes, which would appear to remain untouched by the latest moves, include homes left empty after someone has become ill or because the property is subject to probate.

The proposal will impact hardest on landlords with void periods, as well as property vendors who may need to relocate quickly for a variety of reasons such as for work or, in the case of older people, to be closer to family.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Finance Bill, currently going through Parliament, will allow local councils to charge higher amounts for residential property that has been empty for two years or more, as well doubling rates for second homes.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said “The proposals could have unintended consequences, but it would be nothing like as complicated as the proposal to abolish Class C”.

In the official consultation earlier this year, 169 local authorities voted in favour of the Class C exemption being abolished with only 25 councils voting against the plan.

Only five property-related businesses responded during the official consultation, with 3 businesses voting against the proposal and 2 for it.

70 members of the public were also consulted, although the proportion of landlords remains unclear. Of these, 11 were in favour of the idea and 59 were against it. Only 1 MP responded, favouring the abolition of the exemption.

With so many local authorities under a great deal of financial pressure during the recession it is hoped that councils will choose not to grant council tax-free periods, because of the major financial implications it will have for landlords and struggling property vendors.

Additionally, there will be an increased administrative burden for letting and property management agents in that they will have to continually revise information of vacant rental properties to local authorities, most of which are often only empty for a few days.

It is also likely that it will cost local authorities more to collect the small amounts of council tax owed than the additional revenue they hope to achieve.

Durham council do appear to have acted independently of all other local authorities in the UK by implementing the abolition of the Class C exemption well before everyone else.

As a landlord with properties within the Durham council area I for one remain unhappy and will be talking to the RLA (Residential Landlords Association) about lobbying the Government to review this ridiculous way of thinking and because the abolition of the Class C exemption is not approved by Government at the present time I will be demanding repayment of unfairly levied Council Tax payments already made.

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk helps property investors and landlords build their own property power team to enable them to profit from property - Visit our main site now!