Life in the Lakes - the 'new' normal!

March/April 2020

I’m sitting here at my laptop in our spare room as my husband and myself are currently ‘self-isolating’ for the 14 days and like the majority of you, I’m working from home.

But after a few days of trying to get settled on what best to do, work-wise, I have come up with a few positives to motivate me.

My situation was that for the full months of January, February and most of March I had to concentrate on the new role which I had been given in addition to the empty homes one.  This left me with no time to do empty homes work.  I think this will always be the case, where part of a role is reactive and the other part (empty homes) is mostly proactive.  The reactive work ‘shouts’ loudest and demands immediate attention.  But I would argue that the proactive work is just as important.

And to that end, I was remembering our last Cumbria Empty Property Group meeting.  Paul from our group had been targeting owners of homes empty two or more years with various leaflets from auctions, Homesmatch and highlighting VAT savings – a great idea and he’s having success with it.

Which leads me to what I’ve started to do myself and this is my ‘positive’ from our current situation.  I’m looking at my last empty homes list from January and pinpointing all properties which have been given the ‘exception’ to the Premium.  Because the exception is given mostly when the property isn’t selling successfully, I feel these owners may need as much help as we can give them.  If it’s taken them over two years selling, maybe it’s time for them to look at other options, like selling at an auction for example.  I think if I time those letters for once we’re back in the office, then it will help to engage owners again to decide what to do with their empty home.

And of course the sunny view from my spare room window is helping fuel my ‘glass half full’ approach.

What are you using to motivate yourself with your empty homes work from your own home?  It’s always good to share with others.

Best wishes from the Lakes,

Lynne Leach, Case Management (Customer & Commercial Services)

South Lakeland District Council