Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Housing the Homeless

A string of oligarchs, foreign royalty and multimillionaire businesspeople have been revealed as the owners of vacant properties in  Kensington and Chelsea council where the deadly Grenfell Tower fire left scores of people homeless. Other unoccupied properties are owned by offshore companies

1,652 properties are listed as unoccupied. There were 2,753 households on the council’s housing waiting list 

Some of the luxury properties identified as long-term empty are just a few hundred metres from the charred remains of Grenfell Tower, where at least 80 people died in June. Of the survivors only 12 households have been re-accommodated, with dozens still in temporary housing. The housing charity Shelter says it is “deeply frustrating” that any houses are sitting unused.

Guy Shrubsole, of the campaign group Who Owns England, which advocates for greater transparency in the housing market, said: “Who owns land and property remains one of the UK’s oldest secrets, and this disclosure shines a light on the need for wholesale reform of Britain’s broken housing market, including increased transparency on ownership. There is a clear public interest in better understanding the issue of empty homes in London’s over-heated property market, why they are being bought and left empty, and where the money is coming from.”

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