Almost one in five of capital's empty homes are in Lambeth, figures show

A family was moved out of this home for works to be completed, but it has since been squatted

A family was moved out of this home for works to be completed, but it has since been squatted

First published in Streatham Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant Editor

Lambeth Council has double the number of empty homes of any other London authority, figures released under the Freedom of Information (FoI) act show.

Of more than 5,600 empty properties in the 22 London boroughs which replied to an FoI request, almost one in five is in Lambeth.

As the Streatham Guardian revealed last week, some 1,090 council homes in Lambeth are currently empty, an increase of 183 homes in nine months.

A comparison with other boroughs shows how Lambeth Living, the company managing Lambeth’s 26,431 council homes, is struggling in comparison to other boroughs to provide homes from its stock for the 18,000 people on its growing housing waiting list.

Of 32,879 council homes in Camden, just 485 are empty.

Lambeth’s housing service is also one of the worst in London at preventing squatting. A shocking 100 properties were squatted in 2009 compared with just four in Camden.

Only Tower Hamlets Council had more properties squatted.

Empty homes in Lambeth are estimated to be costing the housing service £8m a year, which some say has led to soaring rents for the borough’s tenants.

If an inflation-busting 5 per cent rent increase from April is pushed through by Lambeth Council, rents will have gone up by almost 20 per cent in two years.

A Lambeth Council spokesperson said: "Lambeth Council has one of the largest housing stocks in London and we are determined to resolve the issue of empty properties.

"We have already implemented schemes to reduce the number of such properties across the borough. Over the past financial year, we have brought 899 empty homes back into use.

"£7m has been earmarked to bring a further 340 empty properties up to a lettable standard. We are also using an additional £2m from the sale of empty properties that are beyond economic repair to refurbish a further 200 vacant properties. For every one property sold, at least four vacant homes can be brought back into use. This action is part os a two year programme of work to tackle empty properties."

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