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Grenfell - where are the survivors? - Raab provides update

Following written Parliamentary questions from Labour's Shadow Housing Minister, John Healey, about the housing situation of Grenfell survivors, Dominic Raab has provided a detailed breakdown in what is described as a 'holding answer':

The latest figures from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea show that, as of 9 March, 137 households from Grenfell Tower and Walk have accepted an offer of permanent accommodation. Another 46 have accepted an offer of temporary accommodation. Therefore a total of 183 households have accepted either an offer of temporary or permanent accommodation.

Out of the 208 households from Grenfell Tower and Walk that need to be rehoused, 64 have moved into temporary accommodation which is self-contained, fully furnished, big enough for each family and not in a high rise building, in either the private or social housing sector and 60 have moved into permanent accommodation. 84 are in emergency accommodation, which includes those living in hotels, serviced apartments and some who are living with friends and family.

Helen Williams to leave EHA

The charity Empty Homes is now recruiting a replacement for current director, Helen Williams, who is leaving after four years. It is understood she will be taking up a senior role at Locality.

The announcement on the Empty Homes Agency website says:

We are looking for a senior manager with strong leadership skills and a passionate interest in our work to help bring England’s empty homes back into use. Our new Director will be a visible campaigner who ensures our evidence-based ideas are translated into changes in national policy and action by local authorities and others to ensure more empty homes are brought back into use.

As a small charitable organisation, attracting funding is a major challenge for us. We also want a new Director who can maintain the relationships with our current funders and grow our income from new sources, such as corporate sponsors.

Closing date for applications is Wednesday, 11th April, 2018.

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:


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.

The latest Government data analysed by Empty Homes shows that English local authorities recorded over 205,000 homes long-term (more than six months) empty in their latest council taxbase reports to Government — over 5,000 more than a year earlier. This 2.6% rise is the first increase since 2008, though the proportion of England's homes long-term empty is broadly stable at around 0.85%.

The charity is calling on Government to put tackling empty homes higher on its agenda to reverse the increase and ensure better use is made of long-term empty homes to meet housing needs.


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:

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:

Autumn Budget - New Homes Bonus News

Empty Home Premium would become chargeable at 200% of Full Charge! So said Fiscal Phil Hammond. If you've been busy calculating the increased revenue your Council may earn next year, hold your horses. As the change will require a change to primary legislation, the 200% charge might not be lawful until 1st April 2019. So don't count on any extra revenue in 2018.

Are you confident that you actually know how NHB was calculated for 2016/17. I must admit, I am a little lost and therefore quite ashamed.  


Alok Sharma supports community-led housing sector with £60million

In a speech to the first Community-Led Housing Conference, Alok Sharma MP praised the sector and announced a new programme of financial support.

£60million has already been given to local authorities with high levels of second home ownership. The minister has now offered a further £60million to help fund further development 'for the first year alone', implying an ongoing programme. This accords with the announcement for the original £60million, which was presented as a 'hypothecation' from the additional revenue being raised by the 3% SDLT surcharge on purchases of second homes.

BBC Shared Data Unit provides major new empty homes data resource

The BBCs newly launched Shared Data Unit has already produced a major new data resource for empty homes.[1]

This shows great promise as far as future reporting of the empty homes issue is concerned, given the evident attention to detail shown in the data series and the clear intention to produce more meaningful statistics by intelligently correlating the raw government data on empties with other variables such as population.