Life in the Lakes

Life in the Lakes

January 2015

I was amazed to see I wrote my last blog as long ago as January 2014, so I thought I’d bring you up to date with what’s been going on in my ‘empty homes’ life. Apologies for the long ‘silence’!

When is "an empty home" not an empty home?

This is a blog post from the Leeds Empties site - but hopefully of interest to EHN members.

Most of us will have an idea of what we expect an “empty home” to look like. It’ll probably be boarded up. It might have rubbish in the front garden. There may be grass growing in the guttering. In short, it’ll look a right mess, and will be having a negative impact on the neighbourhood.

Life in the Lakes - The Year Ahead

I’ve been trying to get a moment to write up my first Blog of 2014, and now that time has come.

I feel this is going to be another year, nationally, to further highlight the issues of empty homes through the media even more. In many ways, this helps confirm that we are doing a good job for our communities, and helps ‘educate’ people that the equation is not as simple as ‘but if we have 1,000 homes standing empty, why can’t that help to house 1,000 off the ‘waiting’ list?’ If only life were that simple…

Empty Homes Premium - at the coal-face

I’ve just had a look at my last blog and was shocked to see it was dated February. A lot has happened in my working life since then.

Other than moving offices, changing groups (‘Housing’ is back together again, where it was previously with environmental health), new manager and a new principal to start soon…. There’s also been the increases in council tax on empty homes and the subsequent phone calls that are coming in.

Mailshot outrages

Things are moving on from my January blog.

I’ve now sent out around 275 letters so far this month to my empty home owners in council tax bands A, B and C. I’ve been letting them know of the impending council tax increases on their empty homes (the ‘stick’) and also the sources of funding available to them (the ‘carrot’).

Letters from the Lakes

Another new year and the media profile of empty homes just keeps getting better and better (with a ‘nod’ to George Clarke). All we need now is for us to be given the same statutory duties which environmental health officers have…..

I’m back at work and feel very positive, compared to this time last year. Finally our council tax for empty homes is going to be 100% from April 2013. No more 50% ‘reward’ for keeping a home empty.

London Empty Homes Conference November 2012

I can’t believe I haven’t updated my blog since 18thOctober, where did the time go? That’s an easy one to answer – I’ve been busy setting up the different schemes for the 3 different sources of funding which we can now offer our empty home owners in South Lakeland, helping write a cabinet report for enforced sales and CPO powers, attending the Empty Homes (Agency) Conference in London last Monday etc etc…!

Management and loan schemes

The long break from my last blog is simply because there have been so many exciting things going on at my work (and a few holidays taken too!). And, as the one and only Empty Homes Officer at our council, I’ve been getting very involved in helping get schemes set up, contacting and following up interest shown by empty home owners.

Maths: “Bring 5,000 empty homes back into use using new capital funding…

I am going to dispense with too many convoluted sentences or opinion and get straight to the point. This is really a question of maths.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have announced a major housing and planning package that will help deliver:

“Up to 15,000 affordable homes and bring 5,000 empty homes back into use using new capital funding of £300m and the infrastructure guarantee”

I am interested in the 5,000 empty homes element of this.


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