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New EHA report highlights community-based approaches

Empty Homes, the national campaigning charity, has a project to spread community-based regeneration in areas with high levels of empty homes. We are following demonstration projects where community-based organisations are bringing empty homes into use in areas with high levels of empty homes. We want to share their experiences and encourage other organisations to look at how community-based regeneration could work in such neighbourhoods to tackle the underlying causes of empty homes.

Our report, Community-based approaches in areas with high-levels of empty homes,  aims to share the learning from the demonstration projects over the past year. It also makes recommendations about how best to support community-based empty homes work. The report is accessible via the EHN Information Library here.

James Brokenshire replaces Javid at MHCLG

In the wake of Amber Rudd's resignation as Home Secretary, Sajid Javid been appointed in her place and has in turn been succeeded by James Brokenshire.  Brokenshire was previously Secretary for Northern Ireland, a role from which he stepped down four months ago in order to receive treatement for lung cancer.

He is characterised by the Guardian newspaper as being 'generally viewed as diligent and on top of his brief, if unexciting.'  Most of his career as a junior minister was spent dealing with crime and immigration issues, with the Guardian article commenting that he might have been eligible for Amber Rudd's job were he not potentially too close to some of the issues that brought her down (though no evidence has been produced to suggest that this might be the case).

His full ministerial career is as follows:

ICO puts RBKC on naughty step after empty homes data breach

EDITORIAL

The Information Commissioner has shown where her sympathies lie by slapping a massive £120,000 money penalty on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for  accidentally revealing the names of owners of empty homes in the Borough, along with the addresses of the homes concerned.

The Commissioner's ruling describes how the details were sent to Guardian journalists who had requested statistical data. The information was sent in the form of an Excel pivot table without the council officer(s) involved apparently realising that the underlying individual data  records on which the pivot table relied were also still embedded in the worksheet.

The ICO had previously issued warnings about the danger of data lurking underneath pivot tables and the commissioner therefore took a dim view of the technical incompetence displayed by the Council in its accidental release of the data. 

OTHER STORIES

Resolution Foundation proposes surcharge on empties and second homes

The 23rd report from the Intergenerational Commission, entitled A New Generational Contract, includes surcharges on second and empty homes as part of its 10 main policy recommendations.

Recommendation number 6 reads:

Replace council tax with a progressive property tax with surcharges on second and empty properties; halve stamp duty rates to encourage moving; and offer a time-limited capital gains tax cut to incentivise o of additional properties to sell to rst-time buyers.

Scotland explores Compulsory Sale Orders for abandoned land and buildings

Having led the way with Empty Homes Premium, Scotland may well be en route to develop a new device for the empty homes toolkit in the form of Compulsory Sale Orders. These would be targeted at 'vacant, derelict and empty land', but in principle this would seem to include empty dwellings.

Raab announces boost for rural conversions

Farmers are being given enhanced options for converting agricultural buildings to homes through an extension of Permitted Development Rights. These allow owners to effect a change of use without needing full planning permission.

The amended development right for the change of use of agricultural buildings to provide up to 5 new homes will allow for:

Action needed as number of long-term empties rises - EHA

The charity Empty Homes has issued a press release calling for more to be done about empty homes as the number has risen for the first time since 2008.

The press release is reproduced below:

ACTION NEEDED AS NUMBER OF LONG-TERM EMPTY HOMES RISES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2008

The campaigning charity Empty Homes calls for Government action as the number of long-term empty homes recorded in official data rose in 2017 for the first time since 2008.

Property Guardian firms make strides towards self-regulation

Seven leading firms within the Property Guardian industry have taken a major step forwards towards self-regulation with the publication of a detailed new guide on the legal framwework that protects property guardians.

Entitled 'The law on property guardianship', the document describes itself as 'a white paper setting out the health, safety and legal status of security through occupation'.  It is written by three lawyers, including Giles Peaker, who has often made robust comments about some industry practices in his nearlylegal blog and is clearly not anyone's poodle.

Empty Property Officer job opportunity - Cherwell and South Northamptonshire

[Paid-for Contentl]

An exciting opportunity has arisen to work as the Empty Property Officer for Cherwell District and South Northamptonshire Councils, on a 3-year fixed term contract with a salary of up to £3,349.58 plus benefits. The closing date for applications is 28th January.

The advertisement for the post follows.

Empty Property Officer Ref. PSH017
Three-year fixed-term contract
£28,975.86 - £33,349.58 

Plus benefits

The Job:

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