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Two more empty homes award categories announced - submissions please

We are looking for submissions for two more categories in the Empty Homes Awards 2017.  These are new categories which are being sponsored by the Empty Homes Network itself this year.

Best before-and-after photos

This category is self-explanatory. A picture speaks a thousand works, and nothing is more powerful in underlining the value of the work that empty homes practitioners do than before-and-after pictures. And the good news with this award is that you don't have to write anything.

In judging the submissions, we will primarily be interested in the quality not the quantity of the pictures. In that vein, please limit your submissions to a maximum of four properties, with no more than six pictures of each, but don't in any way treat this as a target! We don't expect people to have this many pictures available.

Special considerations

We are feeling our way with this new category.  We want the pictures to be available for reproduction by EHN, which involve special conditions:

Scottish Conservatives pledge further action on empties

Whilst the Conservative goverment at Westminster removed empty homes from the policy landscape in the wake of the 2015 General Election (following the complete absence of the issue from the Tory election manifesto) the issue is alive and kicking amongst Scottish Conservatives. Partly no doubt thanks to Shelter Scotland's successful Empty Homes Partnership, there seems to be a a broad-based, cross-party consensus about the need for central (in this case, Scottish) government to play its part. So the Scottish Conservative manifesto for the forthcoming local elections features the following pledges:

Upgrading Existing Properties

Innovation Award 2017 - send us your submissions

Next up in the series of opportunities to win an Empty Homes Award at this year's National Empty Homes Conference is the vital Innovation Award.

This has been sponsored yet again by Carson Millican. Carson has worked for several local authorities and the East London Regeneration Partnership as the lead on empty homes and is currently Director of Empty Property Solutions Ltd.  He specialises in working with Local Authorities to develop empty property approaches and strategies that will win New Homes Bonuses and tap into available funding.

About the Innovation Award

Empty property practitioners excel at providing a range of solutions to the problem of wasted homes. It is hoped this award will highlight the innovative thinking required to deal with the difficult long term empties in a way that provides new solutions to old problems.

Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year 2017 - send us your submissions

Every year, at the National Empty Homes Conference, we present awards to recognise excellence in empty homes work. One of the most coveted awards is that for Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year.

We are proud that this year's award is sponsored by Kent's No Use Empty partnership, led by Kent County Council.

How to apply

Submissions should be clear and to the point and no more than two sides of A4, maximum 1200 words or the equivalent in an email, per award. You can send us more if you want - e.g. before and after pictures - but in evaluating the awards we will only look at the first 1200 words of the first two pages (which should therefore be self-contained).

We'd like to know why the nominated person deserves the award. We are interested in any of the following:


Chris Skinner 1958-2017

Christopher Frank Skinner

 Chris Skinner died on 14 February on his 59th birthday at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, close to his home in Hethersett.

Chris had been in hospital since late December suffering from Guillain Barré syndrome and his sudden death was as a result of complications.

Cromwood offers empty homes funding to London authorities

Abdus Saleh, once of London Rebuilding Society and now Empty Homes Manager at Cromwood Housing plc, has provided the following information about a funding package that can help local authorities and other social housing providers bring empties back into use.

Funding: key details

£2m from a social bank to bring back into use empty properties for the use of social housing. Typical nomination terms to the council will be 5-10 years or something bespoke but a minimum of 5 years.

Recent compulsory purchase consultation

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced a number of small changes to compulsory purchase procedures, which have little impact in relation to the compulsory acquisition of empty homes. There were, however, two provisions which are of greater note. One allows the Secretary of State to delegate to an inspector the decision whether or not to confirm a contested CPO. The other provides for the Secretary of State to specify time limits for making decisions on contested CPOs.

Fixing our broken housing market??

The Housing White Paper will be the subject of extensive comment in the housing press and national newspapers and this is not the place for a comprehensive treatment.  Probably, the consensus amongst housing and planning professionals will be that  the proposals outlined in the White Paper lack bite and will therefore have no significant impact on the housing market.

Bristol property guardian case may shape future practice

News stories in the Bristol Post have been reporting a potentially landmark case, the outcome of which hinges on whether Property Guardians are licensees or tenants. The guardian in this case is resisting an eviction order on the basis that the guardians each have a lockable room and therefore have exclusive possession, regardless of what the occupation agreement might say. Camelot is relying in part on the 'licence agreement' to assert that the occupants are licensees. 

Fraudsters targetting empty homes warns Fraud Intelligence Bureau

An alert has been issued by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau's Proactive Intelligence Team highlighted the issue of fraud associated with empty homes where owners have died.  Criminal gangs are referring to obituaries and then carrying out careful research to identify homes that they might be able to raise loan finance against.  The exact mechanisms are not explained, for obvious reasons.

Empty Properties Transformed in Bolsover

Empty properties set to be transformed 

Three properties in Carr Vale near Bolsover are set to be brought back into use thanks to a partnership between the landlord, Bolsover District Council and Action Housing.

The properties, which are located on Main Street, have been empty for over a year, but with the agreement of the landlord, they have been passed to Action Housing on a 14 year lease that will see them transformed into 6 affordable dwellings.

NHB: Analysis of 2017-18 figures

We have analysed the provisional NHB allocations for 2017-18 to try and gauge the impact of the changes in the NHB regime. To do this we have combined the provisional allocations table with more detailed data extracted from the current year's NHB calculator.  The results are contained in an analysis that you can find in our Information Library here. This is for Full Members only so you will need to be logged in to access it.

The key things to remember when getting to grips with the figures are: