RICS wants empty homes brought back into use

The government could house tens of thousands of families if it took steps to bring Britain’s 750,000 empty homes back into use, a report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says. RICS is calling on the government to make it more attractive for owners to improve the quality of empty properties by reducing VAT on the renovation and repair of buildings from 15 to 5 per cent. Currently the government has introduced the discount for properties that have been empty for more than two years, while offering financial incentives to housing associations to encourage them to buy up empty new-build properties.