The proposal floated in recent Empty Homes Network publications to seek a review of Council Tax exemption class "C" on the grounds that it is a tax break that is not sufficiently justified has been dropped, following a vote by the EHN Executive.
We've now submitted our Consultation Response to the BIS Call for Evidence about Borrrowings and Debt. The deadline for submissions was the 10th December. Our response was only concerned with the issue of enforced sale and can be downloaded from our library here. There were no substantial changes from the initial draft.
EHN has produced a Briefing document about the government's New Homes Bonus proposals for empty homes pracittioners and other interested parties, looking at how it is designed to work the practical implications for empty homes work.
The Empty Homes Network has written to Grant Shapps asking for the £100million for empty homes announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review in October to be distributed directly to local authorities to boost their empty homes initiatives and support the localism agenda.
The letter also asks for a fair deal for housing association empty homes schemes by putting them on a level playing field with new-build schemes when value-for-money is calculate. You can download the letter from here
This (see file attachment) 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.
Since February full members of EHN and subscribers have been able to access our weekly News Summaries, containing links to the stories featuring empty homes as found on the internet. We pick up a wide range of relevant material, incluidng national and local news stories, blog entries, changes to websites and so on. As of today (24th August 2010), we've introduced a new feature whereby every week we highlight strong local news stories that highlight the impact of empty homes practitioners in helping their communities, as reported in local newspapers.
The transition from NAEPP to EHN continues apace with our new domain www.ehnetwork.org.uk replacing www.naepp.org.uk and the new logo and organisation name appearing in the site banner. You are strongly recommended to update any bookmarks to the new domain name. Similarly, email addresses will now be email@example.com etc. That said, NAEPP email and web addresses should continue to work for the time being.
Judging the Empty Property Practitioner of the Year Award 2010, sponsored by Ad Hoc Property Management Ltd proved to be a difficult business, with some high quality submissions. The panel consisted of Keith Gunner of Southampton City Council, Britain's longest-serving Empty Homes Officer and himself a winner of an Empty Homes Agency Liftetime Achievement award, Nick Hilton of Ad Hoc Property Management, and David Gibbens (NAEPP Secretary).
109 people attended the NAEPP Empty Homes conference in Birmingham. Our venue had a nominal capacity of 120, but 109 seemed to be pushing the limits of capacity somewhat. Still we had some extremely good speakers and presentations and there was plenty to learn and enjoy.