Landlords of empty homes in Greenwich will soon have to pay more council tax under new measures to combat the housing crisis.

Currently, when a property has been empty and unfurnished for two years, an extra 50 per cent charge is paid on top of the usual council tax.

In a new bid to stop houses being kept empty in the borough, the council has proposed upping that extra premium to 100 per cent from April.

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Greenwich Council has 17,000 people on its housing waiting list, and said cracking down on empty houses would help manage demand.

Officers said: “The authority wishes to maximise the use of dwellings in the borough and as such bring them back into use as soon as possible in order to assist with housing demand.

“With regards to long-term empty properties, a further disincentive to holding them vacant is to go further than just not awarding discounts, but to levy a premium.”

The raising of the premium level for long-term empty properties is estimated to bring in an extra £70k for the council.

Last year, it was estimated there were 635 long-term empty properties in the borough.

Empty properties often attract vandals and squatters, with many councils wanting vacant buildings reported so they can be investigated.

The tax bases were approved by the council’s cabinet at a meeting on Wednesday night (January 23), with final sign-off expected at full council on January 30.