London council calls for extra powers to take over millionaires' empty 'ghost homes'

A west London council has requested new powers to take over so-called 'ghost homes' and use them for council tenants when they are left unoccupied for long periods of time.

Kensington and Chelsea council's deputy leader Kim Taylor-Smith has written to the housing minister to call for an overhaul of its powers to acquire unused houses.

Mr Smith said growing demands for social housing in the west London borough had been "framed by the Grenfell tragedy", which led to the deaths of 72 people and left hundreds of council tenants homeless in June 2017.

Kensington and Chelsea was said to have a "huge buy-to-leave investment market", meaning properties are bought and left empty, often to accrue value.

Mr Taylor-Smith said 621 properties in the area have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years, 347 of which are "amongst some of the most expensive in the borough", including one worth almost £30 million.

"At the same time, many residents are desperate for a place of their own, but cannot afford to rent or buy in the borough in which they were born, live and work," his letter continued.

"This disparity does not sit easily with the council's leadership team."

An Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) is required for a local authority to temporarily seize properties and offer them to social tenants, but Mr Taylor-Smith described it as "cumbersome, slow and expensive, making its use prohibitive".

The use of EDMOs was restricted in 2012 by then communities secretary Eric Pickles, limiting them to empty properties that have become "magnets for vandalism, squatters and other forms of anti-social behaviour" and had been empty for two years, according to a House of Commons Library briefing paper.

But Mr Taylor-Smith claimed the prerequisite for a council to demonstrate vandalism had curtailed the use of EDMOs.

"We believe that the burdens can be lightened and EDMOs financially incentivised such that it is easier, quicker and financially viable to target all empty properties that could and should be put to use to alleviate pressing housing needs," he wrote.

His proposal suggested offering a "favourable tax scheme" on rent income for owners of property if they agree to offer the premises to the local authority.

"Owners should not lose out. We want to collaborate with, not clobber, the property investor," Mr Taylor-Smith wrote.

The letter also requested that councils be able to levy a management fee to help cover the costs of taking over the homes.

RBKC owned Grenfell Tower and faced criticism after the fire amid accusations that it and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, which ran the block, ignored repeated safety warnings from residents.

The length of time taken to rehouse survivors following the disaster was also condemned, with dozens forced to spend months in hotels.

standard.co.uk
London council extra powers ghost homes
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Sports
England female basketball stars were joined by an NBA great to inspire young women to take up their sport. Siobhan Prior and Georgia Jones were joined by three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen at the Jr. NBA Girls Clinic, hosted at CitySport in Barbican on Monday, before a game at the O2 on Thursday between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks. Prior and Jones, who were in the silver medal-winning England Women’s team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth...
Society
Grieving parents heard that new medical practices could have saved their baby, who died in their arms at just four days old from preventable brain damage caused during labour. Sebastian Clark was born at Kingston Hospital on March 8 2017,  with devastating injuries from which he would never recover. Failure by midwives to escalate the case and subsequent failure by doctors to expedite the pregnancy, despite knowing that Sebastian’s mother Alison had develo...
Crime
A man has been tasered and arrested by police at a train station in south London. The 59-year old is currently being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon after being detained at Tulse Hill. British Transport Police officers were called to the station just after 6:30pm to reports of someone carrying a knife. Nobody was injured and the arrest is not believed to be terror related. Witnesses are being urged to conta...
Crime
A mother has died and her eight-month-old boy is in hospital after being hit by a car as they crossed a road. The woman, believed to be in her 20s, was pushing a pram when they were hit in Anerley, south London, last night. The boy is in a serious condition after suffering from life-threatening injuries. The driver of the car that is believed to have hit them was also taken to hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and is helping police with their inqu...
News Company
Breaking up with your partner is always a disastrous event. However, if your partner decides to break up with you, it isn’t necessarily the end. Statistically 66% of exes want to get back together again. 50% of separated couples reunite. Here we will show you tips on how to fix a broken relationship. If you want to find your love you must realize that it is all about respect and understanding your beloved one.  Accepting The Situation  You have to calm dow...
Society
A Londoner who used to contemplate suicide on his morning commute is now running the length of every Tube line to raise money for a mental health charity. Daniel Sherry, 29, quit his sports PR job in April 2018 and set about completing “30 challenges before 30”, including running his first marathon and cycling from London to Paris. His latest exploit is seeing him traverse all 11 lines of the capital’s 249 mile-long underground network above ground, on foo...
Crime
The family of London teenager Jayden Moodie say he had no links to gangs and was "murdered in cold blood". Jayden Moodie, 14, was stabbed to death by attackers who knocked him off a moped in Leyton on Tuesday in what police believe was a targeted attack. The teenager had moved from Nottingham to London with his mother six months ago for a "new start". No arrests have been made over Jayden's death, the Met Police has said. Speaking near to the scene where J...
Crime
A clubber who ploughed his car onto a packed dance floor in a drink and drug-fuelled rage after being thrown out by bouncers has been jailed for 28 years. Mohammed Abdul said he felt “humiliated” after being ejected from Blake’s nightclub in Gravesend, Kent, on March 17 last year. He drank at least 15 glasses of vodka, tequila shots and more than “five to 10 spliffs” of cannabis before he got behind the wheel of his Suzuki Vitara. Bouncers had kicked him o...
Society
More than 100,000 spectators will descend on central London to watch the Mayor’s firework display tonight as the capital gears up for New Year’s Eve. Barriers have been put in place lining the streets ahead of the display, which has sold out. Fences have also been erected around fountains at Trafalgar Square ahead of Tuesday’s New Year’s Day parade. Tickets are no longer available but the display is visible from Greenwich Park, Hampstead Heath, Vauxhall Br...