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Call for action to fill empty houses

The Halifax is urging the Government to end council tax rebates for empty properties.

Research by the bank found that 90 per cent of people want the Government to act to reduce the number of empty homes, which stands at around 750,000.

Concerns focus more on the social problems relating to empty houses rather than the effect a derelict property has on the value of nearby homes.

Halifax says 76 per cent of people believe that empty homes should be used to house the homeless.

A further three-quarters say council tax rebates should not be available to owners of empty properties.

However, 54 per cent feel that landlords should be given assistance to make houses habitable through tax breaks or extra funding.

Fifty-one per cent believe that six to 12 months is a reasonable time to wait before local authorities should legally take possession of a property.

Halifax is sending the findings of its research, carried out in April among 1,001 respondents, to the Government. It hopes that action will be taken to eradicate the problem of empty housing.

Head of mortgages Phil Jenks says: “Halifax would support actions that reintroduce empty housing stock at the right pace and in the right places. The two sides of this problem need to be balanced to take in to account the interests of local communities, homeowners and landlords.”

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