It’s been a strange year for me so far. Half-way through January I managed to get second degree burns to my leg after knocking over a pot of coffee and it’s taken me a while to recover. I’m being really careful around boiling kettles these days…
However the advantage of being off sick and then working from home meant I have had a lot of time to think about my approach to my empty homes work for 2018.
But the best laid plans…. It has really thrown me that a different council tax system was introduced while I was at home. Just bad timing for me really. And it means that at the moment I do not have any up to date empty homes lists. Once I get training on the new system I will then be able to get more meaningful lists of empty homes but in the meantime I’m trying to cobble together something which I can work with. No point worrying about this as it will sort itself out at a later stage.
Instead I’m concentrating on the positives. We’ve had two great applications for our Empty Homes Grants Management Scheme and are in the process of raising legal agreements. The properties are very different from each other, and both need ‘match-funding’ by the owners on top of our maximum grant (£20,000). I’m really looking forward to working with our partners, South Lakes Housing, to bring these houses back into use as homes again. It’s great to know that our original property is still let out by South Lakes Housing and rented by the same family – a win for both landlord and tenants.
Best wishes from the Lakes,
Lynne Leach, Empty Homes Officer, South Lakeland District Council