Philip Hammond has pledged to tackle the problem of people sleeping rough on Britain’s streets by introducing a tax on ‘buy-to-leave’ landlords.
In his speech, Mr Hammond said: “It cannot be right to leave properties empty when so many are desperate for a place to live.”
New legislation will give local councils the power to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty properties.
Commenting on how it will affect property investors, Tim Walford-Fitzgerald, private client tax partner at chartered accountant H W Fisher & Company, says: “The move to give councils the power to levy a 100% council tax surcharge on empty properties risks being a triumph of symbolism over substance.
“For wealthy buyers who snap up UK property just to hold as a rapidly appreciating investment, the measure is likely to be an annoyance that will come off the bottom line rather than persuade them to let properties they see primarily as an asset rather than a home.”
However, Blane Perrotton, managing director of national surveyor Naismiths, says it is at least a move in the right direction: “The 100% council tax premium on empty properties may not amount to much financially but it represents a tougher stance by the government that should be applauded.”