A number of news reports have been citing research by estate agents James Pendleton Ltd. which shows how little use is being made of Empty Dwelling Management Orders around the country, and in London in particular.
The fire at Grenfell House in Kensington and Chelsea has brought empty homes into the headlines, following Jeremy Corbyn’s call for unoccupied luxury flats in the borough to be requisitioned to ensure that survivors of the disaster can be housed locally.
When launching his proposal on 15th June, Corbyn explicitly situated it in the context of the supposed buy-to-leave phenomenon (which Corbyn inaccurately referred to as ‘land-banking’). He was reported to have said:
Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, has been appointed Minister of State for Housing and Planning at the Department of Communities and Local Government.
His predecessor, Gavin Barwell, lost his seat in the June 2017 General Election. Sharma's own majority was reduced from over 6,000 to 2,876.
This is our longest-running awards category and it always attracts high quality submissions, making the choice of winners difficult.
This year, the award was sponsored and judged by Kent’s No Use Empty team, who certainly are well-equipped with all the necessary experience needed to evaluate the entries.
In the event, they selected one outright winner, and also gave a ‘highly commended’ award. The awards were presented at the Empty Homes Conference in Bimringham by Steve Grimshaw, Programme Manager, Kent County Council.
With the election only a few days away and all the manifestos now published, this is a good time for a brief look at policy proposals connected to bringing empty property back into use for housing.
Delegates to the 2017 Empty Homes Conference, held in Birmingham last week, gave it an average rating of 4.73 out of 5, making it the highest-scoring such event held to date.
A strong line-up of speakers was undoubtedly a big factor. Among the most popular sessions was that presented by Kerry Morgan-Gould (pictured right) and Vicki Green, of Ashfords Solicitors, about dealing with dificult Probate cases. But that was just one example from among many.
Cromwood Social has stepped in to sponsor the Empty Homes Award for Best Before-and-After Photo, which is a new award category this year. Details of the Award Category can be found in our news story here.
We were contacted yesterday by Cromwood's Abdus Saleh with the offer of sponsorship, which we were happy to accept. Cromwood Social is also going to provide Silver Supporter sponsorship.
We are looking for submissions for two more categories in the Empty Homes Awards 2017. These are new categories which are being sponsored by the Empty Homes Network itself this year.
Best before-and-after photos
This Award is now being sponsored by Cromwood Social which is a part of the Cromwood Group.
Whilst the Conservative goverment at Westminster removed empty homes from the policy landscape in the wake of the 2015 General Election (following the complete absence of the issue from the Tory election manifesto) the issue is alive and kicking amongst Scottish Conservatives. Partly no doubt thanks to Shelter Scotland's successful Empty Homes Partnership, there seems to be a a broad-based, cross-party consensus about the need for central (in this case, Scottish) government to play its part.