Richmond Council plans to introduce compulsory purchase orders on properties that have been left vacant in the borough for long periods, according to a recent report in HomesAndProperty.co.uk
The article claims that there are thought to be around 377 unoccupied properties in Richmond. That figure is set against the latest estimates that there are thousands of Empty Homes (approximately 60,000 unoccupied properties in the whole of London).
Compulsorily purchased properties will be sold on to developers or owner-occupiers – with the single stipulation: they must be inhabited within an agreed time limit.
Organising such orders may take up to two years, but it is thought that such action will prompt owners to sell their vacant properties in the meantime.
Richmond Council is likely to give new owners 6-12 months to get the property ready to be lived in and rented out.
The article cites the average price of a regular terraced house in Richmond can sell for one million pounds or more according to the latest figures from the Zoopla property website.
The action by Richmond Council is in stark contrast to the behaviour of other London boroughs in the last few months. In July, a BBC report revealed that new powers in the form of the Empty Homes Premium instituted to penalise property owners for leaving their properties vacant are hardly being used at all.
The Empty Homes Premium can mean owners pay 50% more council tax.
According to the BBC report the new power was not used at all by Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Bromley, Havering, Hillingdon, Kingston-upon-Thames and Merton.
However, Richmond Council´s new approach, designed to alleviate its chronic shortage of housing, may mean a lot of new opportunities for those who wish to enter the buy to let sector.
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