According to the Chartered Institute of Housing, landlords who purchase empty homes to bring them back into use should be exempt from paying stamp duty.
The CIH has called on the government to offer an incentive to purchasers to bring back into use some of the empty homes in England, which currently stands at approx 260,000, by lifting the tax.
According to the CIH, the policy could turn around 5,000 properties a year with an investment of £50 million, which could create £142 million of economic activity and support 600 new jobs. They added that such a move could cost as little as £2,500 per home for the government.
However, their submission to chancellor George Osborne ahead of next month’s budget also said that exempted landlords should enter into an agreement to keep any properties let as rented accommodation for a set period, possibly of up to five years.
The CIH also renewed calls for the government to raise the borrowing caps imposed on local authorities. It suggested increasing the cap on councils’ housing revenue account borrowing from £2.8 billion to £7 billion. Citing last year’s Let’s get building report, it claimed that raising the cap would allow councils to build 12,000 more homes every year for the next five years.
This echoes calls made by a number of bodies, including the Local Government Association, over the last 12 months for the government to review council borrowing limits.
Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the CIH said: “his is about building the case [for lifting the cap]. We want to highlight the potential that’s there. There is lots of capacity there, we have a shortage of homes and we need to boost the economy.”
The submission also included a re-iterated call for long-term clarity on rental policy after 2015 and an increase in discretionary housing payments to £250 million to help benefit claimants through welfare reform changes.