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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Labour bid to seize empty homes and squalid rental properties

Labour will this week discuss plans to allow councils to compulsorily purchase homes left empty for six months.

Young Labour - a youth group approved by Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of the party leadership - has submitted a motion to the party’s conference in Brighton that calls for the requisition of "unoccupied tower blocks in London" and cites Berlin and Vancouver as examples of where this has occurred. 

It goes on to state that Labour should "Requisition empty private homes by Compulsory Purchase Order...as well as the worst private rented sector properties and vacant land plots to conduct land assembly and to provide temporary accommodation."  

One newspaper - the Sunday Telegraph - claims that Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey is supporting the proposals.

The paper quotes an unnamed source as saying: “There’s some technicalities about exactly what the mechanism is that you use, what the compensation is to property owners, whether they can promise to put it back into use and retake the property.”

Under Tony Blair’s New Labour project, councils were granted powers in the firm of empty dwelling management orders which could - in theory - have been used to seize long-term empty property; however, these are believed to have remained unused and the powers were in any case reduced when the Coalition government came to office in 2010.

Speculation over the weekend also suggested that Labour would this week back calls for local rent caps; both Young Labour and the Momentum pressure group have proposals restricting rents to just one-third of the average local income. 

Both Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have recently called for rent controls in London and other major UK cities.

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    '...restricting rents to just one-third of the average local income. '

    So a mansion and a studio flat would have their rents fixed at the same level? And these rents will bear no relation to the costs the landlord has to pay out, most importantly the mortgage in many cases? This would mean rents wouldn't be related to the value of the house but to local incomes (possibly including people on benefits in that calculation). How and why do they think landlords will pay indefinitely, subsidising strangers to live in their houses? And how would it work for HMOs? Would these be recalculated so that the house counted as a 'family home' for rent purposes and the tenants would therefore pay a tiny rent? While the landlord has all the costs and hassle? Absolutely crazy, which would be okay if it wasn't for the fact that so many people are taking this party seriously. There are even still landlords out there saying they will vote Labour. Why don't they chop off their own head as well?

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