Our top news story

EHN submits evidence to APPG

The Empty Homes Network has now submitted its evidence to the National Housing Taskforce set up by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Planning. The final documents were sent to Lord Richard Best, Chair of the workstream associated with empty homes, Helen Williams, Chief Executive of the Empty Homes Agency, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, who were providing the secretariat for the workstream.

Further information can be found in our original news story on the subject and the final versions of the submissions can be downloaded from our Information Library: there are separate entries for clusters of empties and conversion projects. No substantive changes were made to the original drafts.

CPOs: Government set to reduce Basic Loss Adjustment

The goverment has published its reponses to the 'Consultation on further reform of the compulsory purchase system'  that ended in May of this year.

Importantly, it seems likely to press ahead with the change to the balance of compensation between landlord and occupier.

The original consultation document stated:

Reverse loss payment share for landlords and occupiers
33. Sections 33A-33F of the Land Compensation Act 1973 provide for loss payments to be made to owners and occupiers of land to be compulsorily acquired. These payments are in acknowledgement of the fact that a party is displaced from property against their will. Under the current rules, the owners of the land are likely to receive more compensation than the occupiers. The government considers that this is unfair as it is the occupier who bears the burden of having to close down or relocate their business operation and incurs the greater cost.
34. The consultation sought views on amending the current rules to adjust the balance of loss payments in favour of occupiers.  ...


EHN Empty Homes Survey 2016 on its way

We are about to write to England's 326 housing authorities asking them to complete a simple survey about the staff resources deployed to tackle private sector empties in their area.

We will be emailing the addresses we have for Freedom of Information requests, but initially we will not be presenting this as an FOI request, in order to avoid the associated bureaucracy. We are expecting the FOI addressee to pass the email down to operational levels - so it may come to our members eventually.

Empty Homes Week announcement

The charity Empty Homes has writtent to the Leaders/Mayors of the council-tax-collecting authorities in England announcing  Empty Homes Week and requesting them to provide information about their empty homes staff.

The text of the email  is given below:

We are writing to suggest ways your local authority can get engaged in Empty Homes Week 2016, and also to update you on our work at Empty Homes-the national campaigning charity.

Ireland ponders empty homes strategy

The Republic of Ireland's Housing Agency has produced a report that explores the possibility of a national empty homes strategy for the Republic.  The report draws on the experience of strategies and programmes in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, including for example that of Wales, but a strategy for an independent sovereign nation would be a an exciting precedent, where Ireland could well develop an exemplar from which we could all learn.

Over 700 squatters arrested since criminalisation in 2012

According to a recent story on Orbis's website, 700 squatters have been arrested since squatting of residential properties was criminalised in September 2012.

The story claims that 148 arrests were made in 2015, bringing the overall total up to 736 since the provisions of the Act went live.The story notes that many of those charged were also charged with other offences.

Gavin Barwell is new Housing and Planning Minister

Gavin Barwell, M.P. for Croydon Central, is to replace Brandon Lewis as the Minister for Housing and Planning at the Department of Communities and Local Government. He is also to be Minister for London.

Barwell became an M.P. in 2010 and has previously been a junior member of the government, including as Parliamentary Private Secretary for Greg Clark.  Greg Clark has also moved on, to be replaced as Communities Secretary by Savid Javid.