Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Anglesey, Conwy, Ceredigion, Powys, Gwynedd and Flintshire are the first Welsh Local Authorities looking at implementing a 50% council tax premium on empty and second homes for 2017/18. Councils must make the declaration by 1st April 2016 to begin charging in 2017/18.
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In a major departure from accepted practice, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has released details of empty properties following a Freedom of Information request. The main local newspaper, the Royal Borough Observer, reported a significant backlash against the council's move in a recent story.
Speaking at the Goverment Property Conference this morning, Matt Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, announced that provisions were to be included in the Housing and Planning Bill that would required all local authorities to publish lists of their "surplus assets". This is to include all council homes empty for over 6 months and other buildings empty over 2 years.
What has Pay to Stay got to do with empty properties I hear you ask? Well from a southern perspective possibly very little, but the further you go north the more there is a relationship between the two.
A study of community-led housing by the Smith Institute, a left-leaning think-tank, has called for the government to re-instate the Empty Homes Community Grant Programme.
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Cherwell and South Northamptonshire Councils are advertising for a jointly-funded Empty Property Officer who will work 2.5 days in each local authority area. The authorities already share a Chief Executive. However, this is not yet a shared empty homes service, with the post-holder reporting separately to different managers in each authority.
The Housing and Planning Bill, currently before Parliament, has some 31 clauses dealing with compulsory purchase orders. This article is a brief summary of the changes proposed by the Bill insofar as they are relevant to empty homes CPOs.
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.
The government's consultation on New Homes Bonus contains both good and bad news for empty homes practitioners. The good news is no news: there is no proposal to remove the reward for reducing the number of long term empty homes. The bad news is just about everything else in the consultation document, the main effect of which will be to reduce the level of reward and thus potentially reduce the commitment to empty homes initiatives.
The report prepared by Lancashire County Council's Internal Audit Team into the Rossendale/PLACE Empty Homes Project reveals an extraordinary number of flaws in basic processes of management and procurement associated with the HCA-funded scheme.
The Assemble collective has won the internationally famous Turner Prize for its work with residents of Granby 4 Streets in Toxteth in Liverpool. The award was presented live on television in a Channel 4 show.
Following a letter we sent to Rt Hon. Greg Clark, MP, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, the Empty Homes Network has now received a response from Brandon Lewis, MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning.
New research from David Mullins and Halima Sacranie at the School of Social Policy, Birmingham University, spells out in detail the achievements of community housing organisations funded through the government's Community Grants Programme for empty homes.
Sheffield Hallam University has now produced its final evaluation of the Welsh Houses to Homes initiative, highlighting its successes and offering recommendations to build on the experience to date.
This was the second year that this Partnership award has been presented at our Empty Homes Awards 2015 ceremony, (ceremony sponsored by Grafton UK Ltd). The Award was jointly sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the Empty Homes Network itself, reflecting the commitment of both organisations to fostering partnership working between local authorities and community organisations.
The Nationwide Foundation has launched a new, £1million empty properties funding programme to bring long-term empty properties back into use for people in housing need. This follows on from a previous, similar programme.
Applicants must be not-for-profit, non-statutory organisations and may seek funding in the form of grant or social investment or both. Bids may range between £100,000 and £175,000. Encouragement is given to projects that:
The Empty Homes Agency has produced a report about the numbers of empty homes in England, making recommendations for some key measures to bring the numbers down. The Agency has for many years been the custodian of figures about empty homes in England: but this beautifully-written report by Helen Williams is the first attempt for a more user-friendly approach to the statistics, featuring useful maps and clearly-written explanations of both methodology and interpretation.
This year's Empty Homes Awards attracted a wide range of impressive submission and were presented at our May Conference at a ceremony sponsored by Grafton UK Ltd. We'll be highlighting the details of winning submissions over the next few weeks.
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.