A lettings agency says proposals for landlords to pay more council tax on homes they leave empty could indirectly help the private rental sector.
In a bid to create additional housing stock Sefton council on Merseyside has asked for feedback from private landlords regarding new legislation that could see council tax charges increase from 50 per cent to 100 per cent on homes that are left empty.
With around 645 vacant properties in Sefton that have been left empty for more than two years, the new measure may be rolled out by the council from next April - with many other local authorities believed to be considering similar increases.
Now Madalena Penny, director of lettings and property auction company Penny Joseph, says the idea may be indirectly helpful to the private rental sector.
“At first glance Sefton council’s proposed legislation can appear detrimental to private landlords, by penalising them for vacant properties. However, if the policy is implemented fairly, it could lead to freeing up more homes to people in need of property, and help private landlords get a return on their investment” she says.
According to the Office of National Statistics there are currently around 107,350 households in the private rented sector across Sefton.
But she adds: “Sefton council should understand, that there are a number of private landlords that have no choice when it comes to vacant property. In a number of cases, the need for extensive property maintenance along with tenant damage and rent arrears can leave properties without a tenant, due to financial problems.”
“Not one size fits all, and each case should be looked at individually on an appeal basis. Perhaps with the additional revenue collected by the proposed legislation, Sefton council can offer grants to refurbish properties left vacant and unfit for habitation.”