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Islington Council Proposes Action Against Buy to Leave Landlords

Islington Council is proposing to make owners of new build properties prove they are occupied. The borough is one of the most densely populated in London, but according to council figures around 30% of properties built in the last six years have yet to record anyone officially living there.

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The council says around a quarter of homes in some newly built residential developments are – or appear to be – empty.

Proof of Legitimate Occupation The council plans on forcing owners to prove their properties are legitimately occupied by asking them to produce council tax bills, school registration documents, and up-to-date utility bills, etc. Even a fully furnished home could be enough to prove occupation.

If the council’s proposals are accepted, property investors who fail to keep their acquisitions occupied could face fines or even jail.

“Our new proposals would make sure that all new homes in Islington are occupied – we want to send a message that ‘buy-to-leave’ is unacceptable,” said Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing.

Housing charities such as Generation Rent have welcomed the news, but property investors are unlikely to be as jubilant. There has also been criticism from the Planning Officers Society. They say the proposal could be challenged because it curbs the rights of property owners.

Property Investment in the Capital One of the reasons there is a slew of empty properties in London is that property developers buy up new build homes in property hotspots and then wait until they increase in value. This pattern of buying is occurring all over London, and in some parts of the capital, more than 70% of new-build sales are to property investors.

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