Shelter Scotland has issued a Local Government Manifesto for Homes - part of their 'Homelessness - Far from Fixed' campaign - which calls for every local authority to employ a dedicated Empty Homes Officer.
The manifesto is aimed at the local government elections and is part of a campaign to get candidates to sign up to four commitments.
Commitment 1, 'Deliver a home for everyone in Scotland', includes 3 action points:
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.
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.
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.
Leeds City Council has decided to provide a further 3-years' worth of funding to the Empty Homes Strategy, focusing on the Holbeck area of the city.
Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Anglesey, Conwy, Ceredigion, Powys, Gwynedd and Flintshire are the first Welsh Local Authorities looking at implementing a 50% council tax premium on empty and second homes for 2017/18. Councils must make the declaration by 1st April 2016 to begin charging in 2017/18.
Stoke-on-Trent Cabinet has approved a proposal for an investigation into the feasibility of a second wave of "£1 homes".
The Report to Cabinet throws some interesting light on the success of the scheme to date, the financial models involved, and the continuing issues that need to be dealt with. The investigation would be carried out by the Private Sector Housing Team, currently managed by award-winning ex-empty-homes-officer Zainul Pirmohamed.
The Assemble collective has won the internationally famous Turner Prize for its work with residents of Granby 4 Streets in Toxteth in Liverpool. The award was presented live on television in a Channel 4 show.
According to a report in the Lancashire Telegraph, and confirmed by a statement on the Rossendale Borough Council website, a key provider in £5.6million empty homes programme has gone into administration. The company, AAAW Ltd., is reported to have debts of over £275,000.
It is understood that most if not all of the reported £5.6 million was funding from the Homes and Communities Agency under the empty homes programme. In addition, AAAW seems to have been involved in a wide range of leasing and letting services connected with homelessness.