In this edition, we focus on how wealth investment is distorting housing supply and what might be done about it
"Homes without residents" published
At the end of January, Action on Empty Homes published “Homes without residents", to kick off our lobbying campaign for the 2020 GLA elections about wealth investment in residential property and the problems it is causing in London. The publication is based on research into the 'buy to leave empty’ phenomenon in global cities and consultation with stakeholders in London regarding what should be done to tackle it. We asked all stakeholders to complete a survey focused on what policy responses would best tackle the problem. The final campaign document, with key policy demands, will be published in mid-March and all the main parties vying for power in London will be asked to respond.
Action on Empty Homes in the Observer
Action on Empty Homes was a co-signatory to a letter in the Observer on February 2, alongside Reverend Paul Nicolson, Taxpayers Against Poverty; Tom Burgess, Progressive Policy Unit; Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford; Fred Harrison, Land Research Trust; Stephen Hill, director, C2O futureplanners; Professor Richard Murphy, City University London; Jennifer Nadel, co-director, Compassion in Politics; Paul Regan, chair, London Community Land Trust; and John Tizard, social activist & strategic adviser; calling for more measures to tackle the housing crisis. You can read the letter here. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/23/observer-letters-boris-johnson-risks-it-all-with-power-grab
Airbnb comes under scrutiny
The Guardian, tech magazine Wired and the BBC World Service have all been putting the spotlight on how Airbnb is shaping housing markets and leaving a huge amount of residential property empty for most of the year. Wealth Investment in residential property used for short term letting is not just impacting the capital but can increasingly be seen in cities across the UK. The issue has also recently been raised in Parliament.
Oakland Moms spur policy action in California
The homeless Oakland mothers who illegally occupied a vacant property for months — highlighting the Bay Area’s housing crisis — have inspired legislation to fight businesses that intentionally keep homes empty. Senator Nancy Skinner, a Democrat representing nearby Berkeley, has recently introduced legislation that would allow cities in California to fine companies that keep properties vacant for longer than 90 days. Cash from those fines would then fund affordable housing and anti-homelessness initiatives
Antony Fletcher - an obituary
Antony was the founder and moving force behind Action On Empty Homes when it was first established as the Empty Homes Agency in 1992 and it is with great sadness that we have to report his death. You can read this by our Board member Jon Fitzmaurice here
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