The number of vacant houses in Jersey has increased by almost 1,000 in the last decade - despite a severe shortage of homes for islanders. A total of 4,027 private dwellings were identified as vacant on Census Day, which equates to a vacancy rate of 8.3%. Both the number and proportion of vacant properties has increased in 2021 compared to the last census in 2011, when 3,103 vacant dwellings were recorded - a vacancy rate of 6.9%.
Senator Sam Mézec believes the government should find a way to utilise the empty homes rather than redevelop agricultural land - and thinks a tax on empty properties is the way to do it.
He said: "The government's got to take action to incentivise the people who own these properties to either let them out at an affordable price for renters or if they can't do that, dispose of them and sell them on to people who will actually live in them or rent them out.
"There really is no downside to providing some sort of tax on empty homes to get them used. The only people who would suffer from that are people who are hoarding empty properties and we shouldn't really be on their side in a housing crisis like this."