Havering Council meeting: Rat infestations and housing crisis could be eased with empty house tax hike

Havering Town Hall.

Havering Town Hall. - Credit: Archant

The housing crisis, Havering’s budget issues and, according to one councillor, infestations of rabbits and rats could all be improved by a tax increase on empty houses.

A 50 per cent council tax rise on households that are empty for more than two years will be investigated following last night’s council meeting.

Members voted in favour of producing a report and holding a public consultation on an “empty house premium”, at the Havering Town Hall debate.

Conservative Cllr Melvin Wallace gave an example of a property in his ward of Squirrels Heath that is vacant of its owner but contains 20 rabbits and is infested with rats that plague those who live nearby.

Cllr Wallace said: “In one weekend, a neighbour caught 21 rats in traps.”

For a full report of the council meeting, see the Recorder out tomorrow.