Life in the Lakes - October 2017

Where did the last three months go?!  I posted my previous blog in May/June and I can’t believe we’re already in October.

The new dates for National Empty Homes Week this year will be from 16th to 22nd October, which makes a lot of sense.  It’s a better time of year to be contacting owners rather than December, when the last thing they were interested in was their empty property. 

Life in the Lakes - May/June 2017

I came back from the EHN conference this year with lots of new and useful information – it  really is worth the train fare (and lodging costs!) 

David Gibbens’ session on ‘New Homes Bonus – what the changes mean’ was full of excellent examples year on year of how the changes will affect us all.  I always find it tricky to get my head around the complex calculations, but David set it out as simply as possible.

And it was fascinating to hear Rex Duis (who runs Property Guardians UK) explain property guardianship, particularly as he is a ‘seasoned’ property guardian himself. 

Life in the Lakes - EHN

March/April 2017

I’d like to start off my blog with a huge ‘thank you’ to David Gibbens for originally setting up the EHN (which was originally called NAEPP) and for regularly ‘going that extra mile’ in dedicating his time to making the EHN the success it is today.  Without David’s passion, time, enthusiasm, terrific eye for detail and ability to understand complex issues, we would not have our current thriving EHN.  We’ll miss you when you retire, David, as no one person could ever replace you.

HCA to 'cane' councils that fail on housing delivery targets?

The views expressed in this and other blog posts are entirely those of the author and not those of the Empty Homes Network.

It was disturbing to read of an HCA chief apparently threatening - according to Inside Housing - to 'hammer' or 'cane' councils that fail to deliver housing targets.  The Inside Housing story (subscribers only) reports:

Life in the Lakes - New Year musings!

January 2017

Happy New Year to you all!

I wonder what new challenges will face us this coming year? 

At the start of a new year I like to think about what I could improve on in my job - what could I do differently?  Is there a different approach I could try with our empty home owners, or target a specific area or type of property maybe…?

Scottish Empty Homes Conference 2016

Although it took place a few days ago, the Scottish Empty Homes Conference was very much in the same spirit as Empty Homes Week: a call to action and a celebration of what is being achieved.


This was the first time I had attended the event and it was well worth the cross-country trek from Exeter to Edinburgh - not least, I admit, because Edinburgh is a city where I once lived and of which I have many happy memories. It was lovely to wander the sunny streets and be reminded of why it earned the title "the Athens of the North".

Here's an idea for empty homes week 28 Nov to 2 December

I always thought that having national empty homes week at the end of November/start of December was never a good time for me to be contacting empty home owners.  My usual tack is to write to my empty home owners in January, once Christmas and celebrations are over.  But I've done a complete about-turn on this!

At the October meeting of our regional Cumbria Empty Property Group (which consists of three carrying out full-time empty homes work, and the other three where empty homes is a small part of their jobs), we had a 'Eureka' moment!

Life in the Lakes - Homesmatch Aug/September update

We’re moving forward with the empty home owners who contacted Homesmatch to help bring their empty home back into use. 

I thought I’d focus on one of the properties which had been empty for a long time and was looking very sorry for itself.  The owner was at his wits end.  He’d unsuccessfully tried to sell it by auction and really didn’t know what to do next.  The repairs were going to be expensive, and there was nothing else I could do to help him – except to ‘signpost’ the Homesmatch service. 


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