Glass half empty
If your elderly parent has just died and you are dithering about what to do with their house, or you have moved out of your home and are trying to sell it during the current recession – don’t delay too long. New legislation from the UK Government has announced that anyone who leaves their house empty for six months or more could have it removed by the state and rented to tenants…
[UKPRwire, Thu Mar 12 2009] If your elderly parent has just died and you are dithering about what to do with their house, or you have moved out of your home and are trying to sell it during the current recession – don’t delay too long. New legislation from the UK Government has announced that anyone who leaves their house empty for six months or more could have it removed by the state and rented to tenants…
As the numbers of new houses being built has slowed dramatically since the credit crunch hit, this forcible removal of empty properties in the UK could become an even more common phenomenon.
There are currently nearly 300,000 privately-owned homes that have been empty for six months or more and many of them are a blight on neighbourhoods, with some attracting squatters.
The Government is now asking local councils to pressure homeowners to sell up or rent out properties where no one is living, in order to limit the number of homes sitting empty and provide much needed accommodation.
Those owners who fail to get a house occupied before the deadline risk having it seized by their local authority and used to house council tenants.
Empty Home Dwelling Orders were first introduced three years ago by John Prescott and so far have been used only 20 times. They allow local councils to take over the management, but not the ownership, of a property.
Now that the need for homes is higher than ever, Housing Minister Margaret Beckett said, “I believe that with an increased focus and more consistent approach, we can bring even more homes back into use.
“With house building slowing in the current challenging economic climate, that is more important than ever,” she added.
Properties that are used as holiday homes or those owned by people who are now living in care homes or by a member of the armed forces, cannot be seized under the new rules.
But if an owner has no legally-approved excuse for keeping a home empty, councils can demand it be put on the market or filled with tenants. Otherwise they can take control and let it out to their own council tenants.
The rent from the forced seizure will be given to the owner of the property after the council has deducted a share to cover their costs.
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