Over the summer we highlighted the success of our policy to charge 150% Council Tax on furnished properties left empty for more than 2 years and asked that a double premium (200%) should apply to homes left empty for one year, rather than two as at present, and apply to second homes.
We said the 150% rate had already helped to reduce the number of long-term empty homes from 248 to 162. We estimate the further steps we asked for would bring a 190 more homes back into use, a small but significant step.
I wrote to Pickles arguing:
"While the additional Council Tax income from premiums is relatively modest and recycles back into the collection fund for the benefit of all taxpayers, its real effect of bringing empty homes back into use can be clearly seen in Camden."
"We would also like to see a change to the law in relation to unoccupied, furnished property to prevent what the press have called buy-to-leave international investors from storing a few sticks of furniture in a property in order to claim it is a second home and thus avoid the premium."
Last week we received a response which shows that the government is numb to the insane market conditions in our borough (prices went up 4.4% in September alone) and won't give us even some small powers to tackle this further.