Top politician speaks out
In a keynote housing speech today the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable will call for strict action against empty homes and for reforms to make it easier for young people unable to get on the housing ladder.
Cable will call for:
- Increase from 200 per cent council tax on empty homes to 500 per cent
- Stamp duty surcharge for overseas residents
- Loans of up to £2,000 for upfront cost of deposits
Vince Cable said: “There is little recognition that radical change will be necessary if the crisis in housing is to be properly addressed in our lifetime.
“At one extreme are individuals with serious mental health issues and tens of thousands of homeless families trapped in unsuitable ‘temporary’ accommodation. At the other, millions of mainly young people, who despite being in good jobs, struggle to pay the deposits or rents required for satisfactory rented accommodation or to afford home ownership.
“As we build more homes, millions will continue to live in the existing stock of social housing, privately rented property, and owner-occupied property, many of them faced with poor conditions, unaffordable rents and instability.”
On the challenges for the so-called “generation rent” Cable said:
“We need an end to exploitative, greedy, negligent or neglectful practices in the private sector, which give the majority of good landlords a bad name.
“Lib Dems support mandatory licensing with a publicly available database of rogue landlords; promoting longer private tenancies with inflation or wage- linked rents; promoting a ‘right to buy’ – right of first refusal – for sitting tenants when a landlord sells; capping upfront deposits; and banning letting agencies’ fees for tenants.
“For many young people of generation rent, a key issue is the high upfront cost of renting and assembling a deposit. The Lib Dems are advocating for loans of up to £2,000 to assist with this.”