More than £12bn worth of homes are still sitting empty across London, new figures show, despite a sharp fall in the number of unoccupied properties.

Kensington & Chelsea alone has nearly 1,300 vacant addresses, worth a combined £1.7bn, according to research by the crowdfunding firm Property Partner.

Many areas saw a sharp fall in the number of homes which were empty for at least six months between 2005 and 2015.

Property Partner said local authorities had taken advantage of new laws enabling them to seize empty homes if they were not used for more than two years and rent them out to tenants.

In Westminster, for example, the number of unoccupied homes fell from 2,033 to 575 over that period, according to figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), while in Harrow it dropped from 352 to just 97.

However, Kensington & Chelsea was one of the few places in London, or anywhere in the UK, to record a rise in the number of vacant properties during that timeframe.

Number of empty properties nationally has halved

Overall, the number of empty properties across the capital nearly halved from 40,081 in 2005 to 20,915 in 2015, but they were still worth a total of £12.4bn, according to figures obtained by Property Planner from the Land Registry and Rightmove.

Property Partner CEO Dan Gandesha says reducing the number of empty homes should be a priority for new London mayor Sadiq Khan

Property Partner, which allows clients to purchase a share of a property and receive a proportion of the rental income, said some local authorities could be doing more to get empty properties back in use and help ease the housing crisis.

Company CEO Dan Gandesha said: "These figures reveal a shocking waste of opportunity. Over a decade ago, the law changed giving councils the power to seize empty homes through Compulsory Purchase Orders and rent them back out to tenants, if they lay vacant for more than two years.

'Nothing short of a scandal'

"But we still find not enough being done in many parts of the country. This is nothing short of a scandal.

"To be fair, some towns and cities are getting to grips with the problem of long-term vacant properties.

"Yet if just half of the current empty homes could be brought to market, it would go a long way towards resolving the housing crisis, particularly in London.

"Despite the mountain of advice that the new London mayor has already received, I hope this is a priority for Sadiq Khan's in-tray in City Hall."

Pop-up houses like the one pictured below were recently mooted as one way to alleviate the housing crisis.

A pop up house such as this could be used to help alleviate the Kensington and Chelsea's housing crisis, according to a Conservative London Assembly member and housing spokesperson

'We offer support to bring long-term empty properties back into use'

A spokesman for Kensington & Chelsea Council said there were no vacant council homes in the borough but there were roughly 2,000 empty private properties, including about 109 which had been unoccupied for two years or more.

"We work hard to identify the owners of long-term empty properties, some of which are empty for valid reasons such as building work or a change of ownership," he said.

"Of course we have no powers to compel owners to live in their properties but we can and do offer support and advice to help bring long-term empty properties back into use."

He added that the council was "acutely aware" of the pressure on housing and was looking to increase the supply through an "ambitious regeneration" of the estates it owns.

getwestlondon recently revealed the scale of rent rises in the capital, with the average price for tenants in Hounslow having rocketed by 16% in the space of one year.

Sadiq Khan has accused his predecessor Boris Johnson of "leaving the cupboards bare" when it came to delivering more affordable housing in the capital.

How many empty homes are there where you live?

Area Empty homes 2005 Empty homes 2015 Value of empty homes (£m)








Hammersmith & Fulham
















Kensington & Chelsea








London total




* all figures according to Property Partner