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action on empty homes logoA report launched at the end of April claims that there are are an estimated 125,000 homes in London with no-one living in them and places the blame on "wealth investment", Airbnb and short-term lettings.

'Pretty Vacant' is the latest report issued by the campaigning group Action on Empty Homes. Its author, Chris Bailey, concludes that

  • London housing policy is based on meaningless and inaccurate data. There is huge variation in numbers of recorded empty and second homes between similar, neighbouring London boroughs.
  • Wealth investment leaves an estimated 125,000 homes in London without anyone living in them.
  • Airbnb and short-term lettings are sucking tens of thousands of homes out of London’s residential supply.
  • Tens of thousands of homes are under construction which are destined to deliver for investors without housing any Londoners.

Bailey says that the 500-plus high-rise towers with planning permission in London will not solve London’s housing crisis:

"Too many are destined to end up pretty vacant as unregulated Airbnb lets, second homes and buy to leave investments, while London councils spend over £700 million annually on insecure Temporary Accommodation for 57,000 families, including 80,000 children."

Campaign director Will McMahon is calling for government action:

"We need a robust register of residential property ownership and usage and effective regulation of second homes and short-term lets. Local authorities should be given planning powers and resources to ensure homes are built for residential use rather than as wealth investments."

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