As the UK marks the National Day of Action on Empty Homes, Westminster Labour is committed to finding new ways to bring homes into use to help tackle the housing crisis and keep our communities vibrant. One of the main challenges in Westminster is that the Council doesn’t know how many homes are left empty as it only relies on unreliable Council Tax data and has not had an officer whose job it is to tackle empty homes for over a decade.
Westminster is also home to a significant amount of investment properties that are left empty or used only a few times a year by owners based internationally. The Pandora papers have shown that Westminster housing market is used by the oligarchs and the world’s autocrats as their piggy bank, undermining democracy and human rights around the world, while keeping homes empty or under used in our city.
If Labour win the Council Election in May 2022 we will:
- Introduce an empty homes strategy to bring more homes into use
- Recruit an empty homes officer to help get on top of the problem
- Require houses built on council land to have lease conditions ensuring owners keep their properties in permanent residential use and examine what can be done in the private sector
- Take action on flats being used as permanent ‘Airbnb’ holiday lets without permission
- Campaign against corrupt international investment into Westminster’s property market that leaves homes empty or underused and take action with the powers it has