Levelling Up Bill can help alleviate housing shortage, says Propertymark

Timothy Douglas
Timothy Douglas

Propertymark has welcomed measures in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that should speed up action to get the hundreds of thousands of England’s unused homes onto the market for sale or rent.

In a letter to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, sent during Empty Homes Week in February, Propertymark became the latest body to call for action to bolster much-needed housing supply.

The draft Bill published after the Queen’s Speech, offers councils the power to double the Council Tax bills of owners of homes that are left empty for a year – currently they have to wait two years.

They will also be allowed to charge the owners of second homes and others deemed to be ‘occupied periodically’ a 100% premium.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says there are 653,000 vacant dwellings in England, 237,300 of those are classed as long-term empty.

Last year overall housing stock rose by 216,000 – well short of the UK government’s target of delivering 300,000 additional homes every year by the mid-2020s.

Propertymark’s most recent Housing Market Report shows an average of 34 house hunters registered at its member branches for every property they have listed.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns for Propertymark, commented: “There is a housing shortage so it’s right that more is done to disincentivise people from simply doing nothing with their property, or not using it to its full potential.

“To see action on empty homes included in this flagship Bill is a welcome acknowledgement from the UK Government that this issue is working its way up the agenda.

“Our member agents continue to see historically low numbers of homes coming onto the market for sale or rent in the face of rising demand, so when this Bill becomes law we hope councils do not hesitate to act.”


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  1. Comet

    Following the same logic for Council Tax on empty properties, will they double road tax and insurance for those with more than one car so that those without a car can have one?  Or other items?


  2. MrSerious

    Nope, sorry, won’t work.

    Carrots work better than sticks.  Our Governments only have sticks, no carrots.  The mules are being beaten to death.

  3. A W

    So instead of BUILDING MORE HOMES… they’re simply introducing more regulation and legislation?

    1. janbyerss

      Good I do not want every bit of green covered in housing destroying wildlife
      We need farm to feed people with the way the world is going now

      1. A W

        The UK imports 48% of its total food consumption. Do you think a few more farms is going to change that?

        1. There are more than 18,200 brownfield sites covering more than 26,000 hectares.

        2. Statistics published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) put the number of empty homes in England in October 2019 at 648,114. However the vast majority of these properties are located away from major cities i.e. NW & SW

        3. Farming in the UK is severely insufficient for its consumption needs and would require USA style “industrial farming”. Not the idyllic Joe Bloggs farmer you have in your head.



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