‘REPORT EMPTY HOMES’ CALL FOLLOWS COUNCIL CPO OF £400,000 HOUSE / FOREIGN BUYERS BOUGHT UP TO 75 PER CENT OF NEW HOMES IN CENTRAL LONDON IN LAST 12 MONTHS / 50 PER CENT AFFORDABLE HOMES ON MAJOR NON-TOWN CENTRE DEVELOPMENTS FROM APRIL SAY CROYDON
‘REPORT EMPTY HOMES’ CALL FOLLOWS COUNCIL CPO OF £400,000 HOUSE – Hundreds more CPOs to follow?
PEOPLE LIVING in the borough of Croydon are being encouraged to report empty houses and flats by Croydon council.
The request follows the council placing a CPO (compulsory purchase order) on a four-bedroom house in Purley abandoned since the mid-1990s.
The council officially took possession of the £400,000 detached house in Mitchley Avenue in Purley last week after going through the compulsory purchase process.
A Croydon council spokesman said: “The council took this lengthy last-resort action after years of unsuccessfully trying to work with the owner to do up the property and ensure it was lived in.
“Croydon will now auction the house to a suitable buyer who must then refurbish it and let it to new tenants within an agreed timescale. “The council will use the auction price to cover the enforcement cost.”
The move is part of the council’s drive to bring at least 670 privately-owned empty homes across the borough back into use by encouraging owners to do them up or face enforcement action, the spokesman added..
“In January alone members of the public reported 16 extra empty properties to the council.
“With around 5,000 people on the borough’s housing waiting list, which does not include those in emergency accommodation, the initiative aims to tackle both a shortage of privately-rented family properties and the environmental impact of empty homes.
“Abandoned properties can attract piles of fly-tipped waste, vermin and break-ins, and have a detrimental effect on those living close by.”
Croydon’s cabinet member for homes and regeneration Cllr Alison Butler said: “Every empty property in Croydon means one less family has a home; that’s why this work is so important.
“We will not tolerate empty properties that affect our communities – this house has been empty for over 20 years and it’s high time someone lived in it.
“We tried for years to get the owner to do it up, but were left with no choice but to buy it ourselves.
“Our officers are now targeting other empty properties for similar action as we work to help hundreds more Croydon residents into a home of their own.”
The council say it estimates the number of empty flats or houses could be higher than the official 678, and is encouraging residents to report empty properties via the My Croydon app, which is quick and free to download from the Google Play store for Android smartphones or Apple iTunes store for iPhones.
You can also report empty homes online at www.croydon.gov.uk or on the dedicated hotline: 020 8760 5470. (Source: Croydon council press release.)
FOREIGN BUYERS BOUGHT UP TO 75 PER CENT OF NEW HOMES IN CENTRAL LONDON IN LAST 12 MONTHS – Transparency International
‘Parking’ assets and investing them in the UK is very attractive to foreign investors, particularly in the London property market.
The claim comes from Transparency International, which describes itself as a global movement sharing one vision: a world in which government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.
“While there is very little understanding about the specific risk of money laundering in the sector, the scale of foreign funds in UK property is substantial and often sourced from high risk countries” say TI..
“Foreign buyers bought up to 75 per cent of new homes in central London over the past year, and foreign buyers reportedly accounted for 49 pc of all properties, new and existing, worth more than £1m in central London over the same period.
“Savills reports indicate that more than £7bn of foreign investment was spent on high-end London homes in 2013.
“A recent leak of information from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) suggests that in 2011, £3.8 billion worth of UK property was bought by BVI-registered companies, out of a total of £7 billion offshore money, and the trend is increasing.”
Transparency International say 20 purchases made through offshore vehicles represent a money
laundering risk, are a source of tax evasion in the UK, and afford the true owners anonymity when
purchased with nominee directors.
“A media investigation revealed an estimated US$588 million (£350 million) worth of vacant properties on a prestigious London road ranked last year as the second most expensive street in Britain.
“The empty buildings include a row of 10 mansions worth US$123 million (£73 million), which have stood largely unused since they were bought between 1989 and 1993.
“Most of the properties are registered to companies in the British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, the Bahamas, Panama and the Channel Islands, allowing international owners to remain anonymous.”
50 PER CENT AFFORDABLE HOMES ON MAJOR NON-TOWN CENTRE DEVELOPMENTS FROM APRIL SAY CROYDON
New residential developments built outside of Croydon town centre will be required to provide a minimum 50 per cent affordable housing.
From 1 April, council policy will state that half of all the bedrooms where there are 10 or more homes are in affordable housing units.
The minimum level is currently 30 pc but the local plan policy allows this to be reviewed each year in response to market changes.
Developments within the town centre that offer less than 50pc affordable housing will have to justify this by undertaking a viability assessment.
The policy will apply to all future planning applications until the next review in April 2016.
Croydon’s cabinet member for homes and regeneration Cllr Alison Butler said: “We are passionate about increasing the amount of affordable homes in Croydon.
“Like other London boroughs, we are in the midst of an ongoing housing crisis which is denying families a decent home to live in.
“We want to make it easier for Croydon residents to rent or buy a home which is why we have a flexible housing policy that can respond quickly to changing market conditions.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)