Life in the Lakes – the ‘alternate’ normal!

September/October 2020

I’ve been finding different ways to motivate myself (and my empty home owners) as I finally have time to concentrate on my empty homes work.

I started to watch empty homes-type programmes again to get me in the right mindset.  Starting off with Homes under the Hammer.  This got me in the mood for the ‘auction-option’ and also many of these properties are long-term empties anyway.  Then I tapped into Britain’s Housing Scandal (BBC1 Thursday 10am), fronted by Matt Allwright.  starring some of our EHN empty homes officers (Matt Smith from Birmingham for example), this has a two-way focus. Part of the programme concentrates on tenants often living in appalling conditions, and there’s also usually one empty home which is investigated.  It really does highlight that every different empty home and their owner are different, and therefore the solution needs to be tailored to this.  

I finally began re-contacting my empty home owners, starting with the ones who had successfully appealed the Premium charge.  I targeted these with the auction leaflets in the hope that if an owner was struggling to sell and was desperate for funds, this was a possible option for them to explore.  

Then I targeted all owners paying the Premium charge.  I sent them various leaflets – auctions, Homesmatch, VAT Saving letters, and enclosed the usual questionnaire and Freepost envelope for its return.

I’m feeling encouraged because I’m getting a good flow of returned questionnaires, replies by email or by phone.  In that way I can follow these up if needed.  As we all do, I’m eliminating the ones who are ‘actively’ trying to bring their empty home back into use so I can focus on those whom I don’t hear back from.  I’ve given them around 3-4 weeks to reply, so it’s time for me to follow-up my first letter with slightly different text.  Elimination Round Two coming up!

How are you motivating yourself with your empty homes work from your own home?  Or are you still swamped with everything else but empty homes?  Let us know - it’s good to hear from you as we are all experiencing things differently.

Best wishes from the Lakes,

 

Lynne Leach,

Case Management (Customer & Commercial Services) 

South Lakeland District Council