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Many empty London homes council-owned

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14/01/2013
Councils in the capital are to blame for the empty homes crisis as well as private landlords.
Many empty London homes council-owned

There are 354,389 families currently on waiting lists for social homes in London. The Government often points the finger at Central London and its private landlords as the aggravators for the scandal. But recent data reveal that scores of London’s empty homes are in fact publicly-owned, with local councils, especially in London’s poorest boroughs, not doing enough to support their residents.

Local Authority figures reveal that in Hackney almost 50% of all the empty homes are council owned, compared with 7% in the country as a whole. According to the National Housing Federation, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has the third-longest waiting list for socially rented properties in London, 19.4% of the residents. However the borough has more than 2,000 empty homes with 39% owned by the Local Authority and Housing Associations.

According to property management company London Central Portfolio, in Prime London Central (PLC), consisting of the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, one third of all of residential stock is socially rented and it has the lowest number of publicly-owned empty homes in Inner London – only slightly higher than the national average.

Furthermore, only 1.4% of property in PLC is classified as long-term empty (empty for more than six months) and number of people on the waiting list for housing is one of the lowest of all the Inner London boroughs.

With the latest Census data showing that just 6% of PLC property is held as a second home, London Central Portfolio points out that there are considerably more ‘lights out’ in holiday destinations such as the Isles of Scilly (12%) and Richmondshire (10%).

Naomi Heaton, CEO of London Central Portfolio, said:

“London’s housing crisis is the result of a generation of failed government schemes. Accountability needs to fall with the authorities rather than sophisticated private landlords.

“While Planning Minster, Nick Boles MP, is advocating the development of greenfield sites, attention should also be focused closer to home with an initiative to bring empty homes in London’s poorest boroughs back into use. It will be cheaper, quicker and more sustainable.”

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