Councils ‘still waiting for new powers to tackle empty homes’
Councils are still waiting to use new powers to tackle empty homes that were announced in the Autumn Budget, it has been revealed.
Under the proposals local authorities would be able to double council tax on empty properties in a bid to increase occupancy rates.
However, the powers – which were cited by Sajid Javid as proof that the Government is tackling the UK’s housing crisis – have still not been enacted.
The Housing Secretary yesterday insisted that he was “taking action” on the problem.
But in an email, seen by the Guardian, a government official admitted that the plans were “not yet in place since it needs an amendment to primary legislation”.
A source at the Housing department told the newspaper they would be bringing the new rules into force “as soon as we can”.
While a source close to Mr Javid added: “We will bring forward the legislation.”
Shadow housing secretary John Healey said: “Just like pledges to ban letting agency fees or build new starter homes, ministers have done nothing to legislate for double-rate council tax for empty properties.
“Their failure to follow speeches with action shows the government is simply not serious about tackling the housing crisis.”