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London Mayor says foreigners leaving homes empty should pay more tax

The Mayor of London wants to crackdown on wealthy overseas property investors who buy homes in London and then leave them empty. Sadiq Khan has called on the Government to allow London’s boroughs to increase council tax bills for high value homes that are not occupied.

The Mayor’s action is in response to a report he commissioned last year, the most thorough of its kind ever undertaken in Britain, into the role of overseas investment in the capital’s property market.

The research, carried out by the London School of Economics and the University of York, looked at the contribution of overseas investment to new housing supply, as well as public concerns over homes being sold to overseas buyers and kept empty.

In its findings, the research found the number of entirely empty homes to be very low overall, but suggested there were greater numbers of empty homes in prime and expensive locations. The Mayor has written to Government asking that boroughs be able to boost the empty home council tax levy on high value properties above the current 5% allowed.

He cited the case of Westminster’s top Band H, where properties may be worth many millions of pounds but the empty homes levy would currently be no more than £688 a year.

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