Islington: Local authority outlines plans to reduce empty homes and fund affordable homes

Islington: Local authority outlines plans to reduce empty homes and fund affordable homesIslington Council has outlined plans to fund more social homes in the borough, by requiring landlords of empty homes to pay a financial contribution to affordable properties.

According to the council, 'buy-to-leave' homes are becoming increasingly problematic in the borough.

Figures published by the council showed that as many as half the homes in some recent developments in EC1 have no-one on the Electoral Roll.

These properties are often sold as investments and then marketed off-plan overseas, only to be left standing empty for long periods of time.

The problem is not unique to Islington, however, as it is also seen elsewhere across London.

In a new discussion paper entitled 'Preventing Wasted Housing Supply', the council revealed that in cases where properties are left unoccupied, landlords will be made to contribute to affordable housing elsewhere.

In addition, new owners will have to prove that homes are occupied, if the council suspects they are not.

Commenting on the findings, councillor James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing and development, said that empty homes that are sold off-plan overseas are making it more unaffordable for struggling families to live in the borough.

He added: "In Islington, as across London, it's harder and harder for people to find somewhere they can afford to live. It's galling for Londoners to see homes being sold overseas before they’re even built - and it's outrageous for new homes to then stand empty in the middle of a housing crisis.

"In Islington we desperately need more affordable housing, and every new home should help meet our housing shortage. We cannot stand by as new homes sit there as empty, purely as investments, and so we are setting out our plans to end this."

In February, the local authority proposed to build 50 new homes on a site of a former primary school.

However, it was challenged by the Department of Education (DfE), which had planned to build a school there. The council said that it hoped a compromise could be reached after the it opted to use half of the Archway N19 site to build a school, with the rest dedicated to affordable housing.

Published 1st April, 2014

© 2014 Estates IT Limited

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