Cut VAT to turn 1m empty properties into homes

This is according to Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the FMB speaking during the 17th National Empty Homes Week who said:

“Recent research commissioned by the FMB from the London School of Economics reveals that there is capacity within existing towns and cities to create all the new homes the UK needs and that reusing empty properties is one of the instruments to help fulfill this aim. However, the current rate of VAT is acting as a disincentive for owners of unused properties to bring them back into use. Often it is cheaper to simply demolish and rebuild as new build is VAT exempt.”

Berry concluded:

“Cutting VAT on domestic maintenance and repairs would not only mean many empty properties are brought back into use but would help boost an ailing construction industry by helping to create much needed jobs and apprenticeships for young people. Communities would also benefit too as getting rid of neglected properties would help create better local environments by helping to reduce crime and create demand for local services. With house building at its  lowest level since 1924 bringing empty homes back into use is a sensible way to help meet housing needs of every community around the UK and cutting VAT on domestic maintenance and repairs would make sure that this happens.” 

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One thought on “Cut VAT to turn 1m empty properties into homes

  1. Major Landlord

    VAT custs alone will not be enough to bring empty property back into use. If private owners are already prepared to pay council tax after 12 months of leavinga propertyu empty, then a cut of no more than 20% of refurb/repar costs is hardly likely to do the trick.

    I am all in favour of re-using empty properties,of which there are some 800,000 in the UK. Many of these are woned by councils and housing associations. We have to explore why these properties are actually left empty, and then do something about it. There is now one-size-fits -all solution as different properties are empty for different reasons.

    Ultimately, it’s probable that only legislation (including forced seizure of empty properties after a fair period for the owner to deal with their repair) and financial penalties will achieve this goal.

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