On the day a research report confirms what we've been resigned to for yonks, that 2 in 5 of us are priced out of first time homeowning in our capital, a news report about empty council houses in Lambeth Council rubs salt in our renter's wounds.
Lambeth are accused of letting 845 Council properties languish untenanted despite a housing shortage, with a hefty 357 reportedly needing less than £5k's worth of work done on them to make them habitable.
More bizarrely, the Council are allegedly "smashing up" empties to prevent squatters moving in although a council spokesperson moderates this, stating that sometimes sinks and pipes are removed to discourage squatting.
Of course, homes are left empty for many reasons and Councils have a duty to ensure they are ready for new owners, which all takes time especially if squatters have been opportunistic. However, comparisons with other councils suggests Lambeth's actually not doing so badly. Hackney reported 1051 empty council homes in 2007 and Southwark, nearly 1300. Indeed, the Empty Homes Agency statistics for 2007 show that there were over 38,000 homes left empty in Inner London in total when privately owned properties were also taken into account, rising to 45,000 for the whole of London.
Frankly, with that much housing just sitting there, vacant, we're seriously considering a crash course in DIY and proper advice about squatting.