Memorandum by Penwith Housing Association
I am writing on behalf of the South West Regional
Committee of the Chartered Institute of Housing to make a submission
to the Inquiry into Empty Homes.
Of concern to our Regional Committee is the
high level of empty homes within our region and particularly the
high level of second homes which deprive many parts of the south
west of active residents who support services at the same time
as we have high levels of housing needs. Second homes are empty
homes for much of the year. Low demand is not a significant issue
in the south west where many areas have high demand, particularly
for affordable homes. Our problem is a lack of homes for local
purchasers on low incomes and a limited supply of housing to rent.
Second homes make this situation worse and place more pressure
on local authorities and housing associations as property is effectively
removed from the local market.
We strongly support the ability of local authorities
to charge full Council Tax on empty and second homes and the proposal
that the resources could be utilised for affordable homes locally.
We support the Government's proposal to make
adjustments to VAT to encourage owners to tackle empty homes,
but would advise this will have only limited effect. Local Authorities
should have the powers, resources and encouragement to utilise
Compulsory Purchase orders to tackle empty homes.
The effectiveness of Empty Homes Strategies
has been proven in a number of local authorities and this good
practice should be formally encouraged.
I hope these comments are helpful to the Committee's