All the news stories on our site

EHA presses candidates on empty homes stance

Empty Homes Agency Chief Executive Helen Williams is pushing Parliamentary candidates in England to commit to doing more about empty homes in the runup to the General Election on May 7th.

Candidates from all the main parties have been sent emails which EHA says "has prompted a good deal of interest, pledges and tweets across the political spectrum."

Email to prospective parliamentary candidates:

Dear Candidate

Empty Homes Agency campaign to reduce long-term empty homes

Regeneration preferred to demolition according to yougov research

Research commissioned by Callcredit Information Group reveals that there is a strong preference for retaining empty homes and regeneration rather than replacing them with new homes.

The research was conducted online by Yougov on 9th-10th April and involved 1,782 adults, with figures weighted to be representative of all UK adults. Callcredit sell their data so we have not been able to analyse it any further than the information provided in their press release, which can be found here.

Empty Homes Awards 2015 - your submissions

Empty Homes Awards 2015 open for entries

Every year we present awards to recognise excellence in empty homes work at our Annual Conference at a ceremony sponsored by Grafton UK Ltd.

We'd love to get your submissions for these awards - by midnight, Wednesday, 29th April please. Submissions should be clear and to the point and no more than two sides of A4 or the equivalent in an email, per award.

May Conference: Kent No Use Empty initiative becomes Gold Supporter

We are pleased to announce that the Kent No Use Empty Initiative has become a Gold Supporter for the National Empty Homes Conference organised by the Empty Homes Network for 20th May 2015 in Birmingham.

The Kent initiative has established a fantastic track record on delivery and aspects of its model have now been exported to Wales and to the West of England partnership of four authorities around Bristol. Support from No Use Empty represents a big vote of confidence in our Conference.

Meeting the challenge of low demand? - News Review

There have been a fair few stories over the last two or three weeks about significant numbers of empty homes in Durham mining villages near Easington which demonstrate that the issues associated with "low demand" - and the search for solutions - are still very much alive.

In the news stories it is Horden in particular which has been singled out, with a claimed 130 empty homes owned by Accent housing association now slated for disposal and reportedly another 130 to follow.

Canopy report reveals benefits of empty homes project

A report commissioned by Canopy Housing Project in Leeds and published early in 2014 shows the benefits that self-help housing can bring to a range of different stakeholders.

Written by Andy Bagley (Real-Improvements consultancy), this is a first-stage, preliminary report on the Social Return on Investment (SROI) provided by Canopy's project to bring empty homes back into use, a project which also draws in volunteers, provides homes, and helps people into training and work.

Empty Homes Network launches first Online Practitioner Guide to enforced sale

The Empty Homes Network is pleased to be able to offer its first online Practitioner Guide. The new Guide to Enforced Sale has been written by Chris Skinner.

Chris, a solicitor at Norfolk County Council's shared legal services nplaw, is known for his work on enforced sales and compulsory purchase orders and will be speaking at our May 20th Conference.

Council tax exemption B case clarifies the rules

A recent court High Court ruling clarifies the position regarding the rules around Council Tax Exemption Class "B" and suggests that it will be very easy for charitable housing assocations or other charitable bodies to benefit from the exemption, regardless of the rent charged in most cases.

For the record, Exemption Class "B" reads as follows:

"a dwelling owned by a body established for charitable purposes only, which is unoccupied and has been so for a period of less than 6 months and was last occupied in furtherance of the objects of the charity"

Scotland launches Town Centre Empties Fund

The Scottish government has launched a new £4million fund to help address empty homes and commercial properties in town centres. The funding can be used to bring long-term empty homes back into use or to convert redundant commercial properties into housing. As with the predecessor scheme, the Scottish Empty Homes Loan Fund, the homes produced must be affordable.

There is little detail available about the Town Centre Empty Homes Fund at the moment. The press release states simply that it

Pickles plucks Liver Bird's feathers

[The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not those of the Empty Homes Network]

It's back to the drawing board for the powers that be in Liverpool following Eric Pickles' decision[1] to over-rule his Planning Inspector and refuse the CPO and planning permission that would have allowed the redevelopment of the "Welsh Streets" to go ahead.

Massive boost for Scottish Empty Homes Partnership

The Scottish government has provided a massive boost to the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, both extending the funding for a further 3 years and expanding the available resource by a further 1.5 posts.

Scottish Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced the move on 23rd December. The story published on the Scottish Goverment website describes the initiative in more detail:

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) will receive a three year extension backed by an additional £616,500 from the Scottish Government.

Empty Homes Conference set for 20th May

We've now set the date for the 2015 National Empty Homes Conference, and the first speakers have already been booked. It will be held in Birmingham on Wednesday, 20th May at Maple House, our third year at this spacious and comfortable venue.

Helen Williams will be appearing to give us vital insight from her perspective as Chief Executive of the Empty Homes Agency; and Andrew Lavender will be offering his invaluable surgeries.

Community Grants Programme meeting details finalised

Time flies and the EHCGP comes to an end on March 31st.. As part of our efforts to make the case for more some more funding, and HACT are running two events in February , looking at what has been achieved through the DCLG’s £50m Empty Homes Community Grants Programme. One will be in London looking at the national picture, while the other will take place in Hull and will concentrate on what’s been achieved in Yorks. & Humberside and the North East and on the recent research that is ongoing.

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.