On Tuesday 4th June Labour led Milton Keynes Council adopted a new ‘Empty Homes Strategy’ to tackle the scandal of having over 2000 empty privately owned properties in Milton Keynes.
Around 600 of the 2000 properties have been empty for over 2 years and 123 are unfurnished properties. The 123 empty unfurnished empty houses are mostly concentrated in the older parts of Milton Keynes:
Bletchley (19) Newport Pagnell (10) Stony Stratford (8) Wolverton (6) Olney (7) Villages (9)
The new Empty Homes Strategy received 88% support from the recent 12 week public consultation. It will use both incentives, to encourage empty property owners to work with the Council, but also, following a change in the law, levy an additional council tax charge on the owners.
This will rise as follows:
- 2019 100% additional Council Tax charge
- 2020 200% extra charge
- 2021 300% extra charge.
Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration said: “Last Friday 31st May there were 784 families in temporary accommodation, including 23 in Bed and Breakfast. Yet there are 2000 privately owned empty homes that could be used to give families secure accommodation. At a time when housing is so desperately needed this is appalling and we will now be using tougher measures to tackle the problem, including the extra council tax charge and enforcement actions.”
Extra powers include:
- Empty Dwelling Enforcement Orders
- Compulsory Purchase Orders
- Enforced sales
Cllr Long concluded: “We are going to get tough on owners of privately owned empty property. We would rather owners work with the Council. Let the Council lease your empty house or take up an Empty Homes loan to do the property up. However if owners will not co-operate we will use the stick, charging higher Council tax or taking enforcement action.”