The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has called for action on the number of unoccupied properties in London that have been left empty by buy-to-leave investors.
The call is part of the RLA’s London mayoral manifesto, which was released recently, ahead of the 5th May vote. The document details the changes that the RLA would like to see in the private rental sector under the new mayor.
It insists that with around 57,000 homes in the capital thought to be empty, the next London mayor must use the powers available to them to ensure these properties are being used, either by landlords offering them to rent or up for sale to prospective homeowners, and to stop investors denying Londoners the homes they need.
While the Government has introduced a series of changes for buy-to-let landlords, including an increase in Stamp Duty, many of the new measures will not affect overseas investors, who typically purchase properties and leave them empty.
The RLA’s manifesto also calls for more effective enforcement of the large number of powers available to councils to protect tenants from rogue landlords, and for greater efforts to free up small plots of unused land in London for the development of homes to rent, which the capital desperately needs.
Forecasts from accountants PwC claim that around 60% of Londoners will live in the private rental sector by 2025. To ensure that landlords are offering safe, legal and secure homes, the RLA is calling for the new mayor to work with investors and encourage them to develop new housing.
The Policy Director at the RLA, David Smith, says: “With access to decent and affordable housing the number one issue in London, it is a scandal that so many homes lie empty, as investors wait to sell them off for a profit.
“The next mayor needs to use all the powers they have to stamp out this practice, and encourage good, decent landlords to provide the homes to rent Londoners need.
“The majority of landlords provide decent homes to their tenants and are as keen as anyone else to root out the crooks often preying on vulnerable people. The next mayor should work positively with them rather than seeing them as a problem to be dealt with.”1
While some investors choose to leave their properties empty in order to make a profit on them, some landlords are trying to fill their rental homes or are completing maintenance work before finding new tenants. If you currently have an empty investment, it is important to protect your income with Unoccupied Property Insurance.
Our policy will cater to many different scenarios, including if you are awaiting tenants, redecorating or are planning to move into the property yourself. As void periods can be a real headache, this cover will provide the ultimate peace of mind.