Croydon has been ranked the third worst borough for vacant houses in London.
According to a study conducted by the London wing of the GMB trade union, over 59,881 properties are vacant in London. Over a third of which, 20,915, have been vacant for 6 months or longer.
The data compiled by GMB and the Department for Communities and Local Government, shows Croydon ranking third worst on the list of 33 London boroughs, with 3130 residences unoccupied.
First on the list for vacant houses was Southwark with 4677, whilst second was Ealing with 3209. In the East London Lines area Hackney was ranked as 9th: with 2268 empty houses, Lewisham 11th: with 2131 and Tower Hamlets at 15th: with 1844.
The news comes amid increasing numbers of rough sleepers in Croydon and homelessness on the rise across London.
GMB London region are calling for a more robust tax regime to reduce the number of current vacant properties in London. GMB regional secretary Warren Kenny stated that:
“Many, many more of these 60,000 purposefully unoccupied dwellings in London must be utilised more thoroughly. These empty properties can be used and transformed into homes for people and families desperately in need of decent and affordable housing. For that to happen there needs to be a punitive tax regime put in place.”
The number of empty properties causes fewer homes to be available for those looking to live in London, and consequently higher rents given the increased demand. Jad Adams, Chair of Croydon based homeless charity Nightwatch said that:“The housing crisis with accompanying extremely high property prices has moved into the rental market to people who have jobs and would normally buy.
“That housing in London is a great problem is beyond doubt; it was the major issue at the recent mayoral elections.”
A council spokesperson said that: “Derelict homes blight their local environment and stop families from getting their own place, which is why Croydon Council’s empty properties campaign has identified, refurbished and rented out over 130 abandoned houses in just over a year, and we will continue to take action whenever necessary.”
The price and availability of properties in London could become worse next year when the Housing and Planning Act comes into force in April 2017, which causes the councils to sell off the higher valued council properties when they become vacant.
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