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Change Council Tax And Tackle Derelict Property

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Allow me to suggest some changes to council tax and derelict property policy based on the principle that:

"During an unprecidented demand for housing in the UK, no property should be vacant or derelict".

If you agree that the principle is correct, may I suggest that:

* Landlords who have vacant property should be charged council tax until new tenants are in. Moreover, I don't know why we collect council tax from tenants when it is homeowners who derive most of the benefit. Why not collect council tax directly from landlords?

* Owners of derelict properties should be served a notice to get their property into a habitable state. If they haven't done this after 6 months (or a year...) then forcibly auction the house and give them 90% of the proceedings.

Tenants get their bins collected and get their home protected by police. Does that cost £1100 per year? Landlords benefit from the improvement in their house's surrounding area. I'm paying through the nose for council tax in Greenwich and they're massively improving the area (which works out quite nicely for my landlord). Wouldn't it just be simpler to collect council tax from the property owner (and collect from the tenant and fine the property owner if this is not possible). When a property is full, the cost is simply passed onto the tenant with an increased rent to compensate.

With derelict properties, the situation is more extreme. The owners of derelict properties drag an area down by encouraging petty crime. They pay nothing (for years, sometimes!) while the people who live next door to the derelict property pay council tax! A pub (which would make a great house conversion) on my road, close to Greenwich town centre has been derelict for at least 5 years and is now having £400k 2 bedroom apartments built around it and having its surroundings landscaped. The pub will now be worth millions and no council tax has been charged.

I predict that these measures would bring down house prices by increasing the supply of houses and making it less desirable to be a landlord with a vacant property.

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There is some stuff in the new Housing Act to tackle empty properties by local authorities. The problem is that most empty properties are owned by local authorities.

If you look at your local authority breakdown of council tax - quite a proportion goes towards policing and fire fighting as well as refuge and street lighting and all that other stuff. I think you probably benefit as much from that as your landlord.

However, house prices are extremely expensive though, and anything to burst the bubble would help.

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In essence council tax works like a "people tax", making the owner responsible for payment ragardless of occupancy certainly would shift this more towards a "land tax". Land tax has been talked about recently. Any eceonomy needs its resources to be utilized as best as possible and having a large proportion of housing empty is not helping the economy. Some will say that this is private housing and has nothing to do with the greater economic good and certainly not for somethig for the state to meddle in, not true, all new property and the vast bulk of existing stock the state has already meddled in by the state decreeing what can and cannot be built. Something needs to change the current system is producing sequential booms and busts and they are getting bigger.

Where has most of the brownfield land come from? Companies shutting down for good or moving abroad, this is one policy that is going to backfire spectacularly, neither providing the right type of accommodation or accommodation where it is needed as well as promoting the closure of business and large parts of what is left of industry.

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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