The aspiring Tessa Jowell and her mayoral aspirations are reflected in her latest epistle in the Independent newspaper recently about recommending local councils impose a tax on empty homes if they remain so for more than 6 months.
Does she really think that reasonably intelligent people buy homes that are non-income-producing and leave them empty just to take advantage of the capital gain? If they do, they are stupid!
No one in their right mind would give away 4-5% likely rental income. A simple way to get around her empty house tax is to employ a house sitter at a fraction of the cost.
The reason why private landowners keep derelict houses empty is usually because they are waiting for a planning resolution and there is no point in titivating the house for rental if the property is going to be demolished.
The planning process is tortuously elongated and applicants can wait months, if not years, for a proper decision particularly if it involves the appeal process. This says more about the labyrinthine method of adjudicating planning matters than it does about wasteful empty properties but if you want to solve the problem then attack the source not the resultant effect.
As I have always lobbied planning decisions should be taken by inspectors from the Department of Environment absent from any influence of nimbyism or localism.
In this way we will get London moving again and more houses built both private and affordable.
I think you will find that the Government and the Councils themselves have more empty property than any other private landlord so you could try there first.
Top Tip: Tess, try a little less electioneering and a bit more practicality.