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Policy H11 Ensuring the best use of stock


  1. Boroughs should promote efficient use of existing stock by using all the tools available to reduce the number of vacant dwellings.
  2. The Mayor will support boroughs with identified issues of homes being left empty as ‘buy to leave’ properties to put in place mechanisms which seek to ensure stock is occupied.
  3. Boroughs should take account of the impact on the housing stock of applications for homes to be used as holiday rentals for more than 90 days a year.

Given the pressure for housing and competition for land in London for a variety of uses, it is important to ensure that new homes meet an identified need and are not left vacant long term (over six months). While the numbers of long-term vacant properties in London has decreased significantly and is now below one per cent of the housing stock[52], to make best use of existing stock, where vacant properties are identified, local authorities should investigate why the units are vacant and where possible seek to bring them back into use. Boroughs are encouraged to use all the tools at their disposal such as Empty Dwelling Management Orders to bring long-term vacant stock back into use as affordable housing.

[52] Table 615 from

In addition, the use of dwellings as short-term holiday rentals can have a significant impact on the supply of homes in an area that are available for people to live in. Homes should not be used as short-term holiday rented accommodation for a cumulative period of more than 90 days a year without seeking planning permission.