Local news

More £1 homes on the cards in Stoke

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.

East Lancs. empty homes provider goes bust

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.

South Tyneside forges ahead with EDMOs

A recent press release from South Tyneside Council captures the excellent work being done in the area through the use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs), and is reproduced below:

More neglected properties have been given a new lease of life by South Tyneside Council.

Privately owned houses which have fallen into disrepair have been seized by the council and renovated so they can be brought back into use.

Last year, 11 properties in the St Paul’s area of Jarrow were given a facelift and are now all rented out to tenants.

Rochdale launches loan scheme for Empty Homes Week

Loan schemes often suffer from a lack of attention to detail, leaving councils scratching their heads as to why they can't seem to give the money away.

A new scheme launched by Rochdale Council to mark Empty Homes Week is a good example of how a detailed awareness of owners' needs helps shape the product to make it attractive without at the same time squandering public money.

Bournemouth to beef up empty homes work with new Empty Homes Officer

Bournemouth Borough Council are upping their efforts to deal with empty homes with the appointment of a full-time Empty Homes Officer.

The existing Empty Homes Strategy covered the years 2009-2012 and relied on a partnership with Bournemouth's four development partners for funding. That funding dried up and there has been no empty homes officer in post since 2011.

Nicky Thomas, Housing Manager (Private Sector Housing and Adaptations) said:

A look back at Leeds Empties Week - plus our first impact report

Our second Leeds Empties Week took place from 17th to 21st of March 2014.

The focus this year was on encouraging owners to get in touch - and we concentrated on the cost of keeping a home empty - estimating that a typical empty home owner in Leeds was losing out by around £650 a month.

We got good local media coverage, and we organised a visit by Communities Minister Stephen Williams to a couple of empty homes that are being renovated by LATCH.

Dedicated Empty Homes Officer key to success in Pendle

Pendle Council has seen a signifcant drop in its number of empties over the last few years, thanks in large part to its decision to appoint a dedicated empty homes officer.

According to the story in Pendle Today, a report to Pendle's Executive noted a 30% decline in the number of long-term empties. Councillor Joe Cooney, the Council Leader is quoted as saying

Camden seeks 100% EHP and end to second home tax avoidance

The London Borough of Camden has written to Eric Pickles urging him to allow them to increase the Empty Homes Premium to 100% from the current 50%. This is in line with representations made by the Empty Homes Network during the consultation exercise and - although Camden does not mention it in its letter - the current position in Scotland where Empty Homes Premium has been set at 100% from the outset.