Lynne Leach's blog

Life in the Lakes - June/July 2019

Life in the Lakes – June/July 2019

Thanks to everyone who contacted me to let me know your council had increased the council tax Premium. It’ll be very interesting to hear after the first six months to a year what effect (if any) the doubling of the Premium has made to your work.

Personally speaking I like the idea that some other councils are already using, which is aimed at those genuinely struggling financially to complete repairs, by offering an option for a ‘holiday’ from the Premium while repairs are completed.

Life in the Lakes - April - May 2019

Oh dear, I can’t believe the last blog I posted was after last year’s Empty Homes Network conference, where did that time go?!

Our council is currently undergoing a major transformation where all our current roles will no longer exist and we will be invited to apply for generic roles instead. I’m looking at it all a positive way (my usual ‘default’ position) and hoping that I’ll still be able to carry out empty homes work, which I love. I’ve learned so much over the past ten years and am still learning and enjoying new challenges.

Personal Highlights from our EHN conference

So which were your highlights at Thursday’s annual conference?  Of course it’ll depend on which workshops you attended, but what a great choice and which to attend?

These were my personal highlights and ‘awards’.   

Funny moments award – Always goes to Nick P-G.  Especially his ‘crowd-funding’ moments for David Gibbens’ leaving present IN FRONT OF David himself – hilarious!  And his surreal introduction to Brighid Carey from Action on Empty Homes, you couldn’t make it up.

Life in the Lakes - October 2018

National Empty Homes Week is almost upon us once again (15 to 19 October).  It’s helpful that our EHN conference is taking place the same week this year and I’m really looking forward to the varied mix of workshops and speakers. I find I often come away from the conference having learned something new and with another ‘tool’ for my empty homes toolkit. It’s also great to meet up with long-term friends in the empty homes ‘world’ and to meet new ones too.  You can’t beat networking and sharing best practice!

Life in the Lakes - Summer 2018

My question to you is this – how do you carry on with your ‘proactive’ empty homes work without a current list of empty homes?  And my reply is – it’s quite tricky!

So for the past six months I’ve been without a list of empty homes.  This was due to our council tax group having a new system installed followed by time taken for staff training including training on how to run off tailored reports like the ones I get. 

Life in the Lakes - April 2018

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.

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.

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…?

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