National news

Government still wedded to delivery by housing associations

The latest government consultation on the future of social housing has just been published. Entitled Local decisions: a fairer future for social housing it lays out significant changes in the forms of social tenancy that will be available, confirms the intention to focus on the development of intermediate rented housing, outlines the reform to the Housing Revenue Account...and more.

Consultation on new homes bonus for empty homes?

A recent blog post from the Hasledon and Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones indicates that there will be consultation on including empty homes in the New Homes bonus. He also suggests there will be consultation the £100million for empty homes. Good news - but let's not forget the consultation on including empty homes in the new homes reward element of Housing and Planning Delivery Grant. Jones predicted the consultation would be published last Friday (5th November).

Empty Homes: National Commitment, Local Action: the EHN contribution to the empty homes review 2010

This (see library item) is the first draft of the Empty Homes Network's contribution to the review of empty homes being conducted by the government. As with last year's National Action Plan proposals (which this effectively replaces) comments of practitioners are welcome and will be taken into account where appropriate.

CIH/EHA/HCA: free training events

The CIH, Empty Homes and HCA are running joint free training events for local authorities around the country. A letter from the EHA reads as follows:

"In order to help local authorities, the Homes and Communities Agency, in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Housing and the charity Empty Homes is launching a skills and learning programme to assist local authorities develop their approach to empty homes. Presented by one of the country's most respected and experienced practitioners. [We understand this is Dave Stott].

HCA debate on empty homes extended to 31st August

This debate is now being extended to the 31st August 2010.

Gera Drymer, who leads on this at the HCA is giving presentations on the discussion at CLG-organised meetings so it is reasonable to assume that the issues debated will figure in the deliberations of the coalition government as they consider how to move forwards with empty homes policy. This is an opportunity for empty homes practitioners to highlight the really important issues we face and lessons we have learned.

BPF calls for more focus on empty homes

The British Property Federation has added its weight to the current debates about empty homes. The BPF has been a long-time supporter of empty homes work and used to host NAEPP Executive meetings for several years. As far as we know, the support is currently in the form of a press release, but we are confident that there is more going on behind the scenes. A key player in the property industry, BPF's support for the issue is to be welcomed.

Vacant Dwellings in England (Review)

Vacant Dwellinngs in England

The challenges and costs of bringing them back into use

By Maggie Davidson and Kevin White
Published by BRE Trust, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84806-131-6, A4, 20pp. £26.44 (instant download) or £22.50 (hard copy).

It is very much to the credit of the BRE Trust that they have commissioned this report. It's the first serious analysis of vacant dwellings since the Department of the Environment report Vacant Dwellings in the Private Sector, published 15 years ago.

Number of empties reported in Council Tax Base returns drops slightly

We've just updated the NAEPP analysis of Council Tax Base data to take account of the figures for September 2009 which have just been published by CLG.

This shows that the number of long-term empties (excluding exempt homes) has declined by about 3.5% whilst the number of short-term empties (exemption code "C") has increased by about 2.5%, The overall change is a reduction of about 0.8%.