National Empty Homes Week is almost upon us once again (15 to 19 October). It’s helpful that our EHN conference is taking place the same week this year and I’m really looking forward to the varied mix of workshops and speakers. I find I often come away from the conference having learned something new and with another ‘tool’ for my empty homes toolkit. It’s also great to meet up with long-term friends in the empty homes ‘world’ and to meet new ones too. You can’t beat networking and sharing best practice!
Lynne Leach's blog
My question to you is this – how do you carry on with your ‘proactive’ empty homes work without a current list of empty homes? And my reply is – it’s quite tricky!
So for the past six months I’ve been without a list of empty homes. This was due to our council tax group having a new system installed followed by time taken for staff training including training on how to run off tailored reports like the ones I get.
It’s been a strange year for me so far. Half-way through January I managed to get second degree burns to my leg after knocking over a pot of coffee and it’s taken me a while to recover. I’m being really careful around boiling kettles these days…
However the advantage of being off sick and then working from home meant I have had a lot of time to think about my approach to my empty homes work for 2018.
Where did the last three months go?! I posted my previous blog in May/June and I can’t believe we’re already in October.
The new dates for National Empty Homes Week this year will be from 16th to 22nd October, which makes a lot of sense. It’s a better time of year to be contacting owners rather than December, when the last thing they were interested in was their empty property.
I came back from the EHN conference this year with lots of new and useful information – it really is worth the train fare (and lodging costs!)
David Gibbens’ session on ‘New Homes Bonus – what the changes mean’ was full of excellent examples year on year of how the changes will affect us all. I always find it tricky to get my head around the complex calculations, but David set it out as simply as possible.
And it was fascinating to hear Rex Duis (who runs Property Guardians UK) explain property guardianship, particularly as he is a ‘seasoned’ property guardian himself.
I’d like to start off my blog with a huge ‘thank you’ to David Gibbens for originally setting up the EHN (which was originally called NAEPP) and for regularly ‘going that extra mile’ in dedicating his time to making the EHN the success it is today. Without David’s passion, time, enthusiasm, terrific eye for detail and ability to understand complex issues, we would not have our current thriving EHN. We’ll miss you when you retire, David, as no one person could ever replace you.
Happy New Year to you all!
I wonder what new challenges will face us this coming year?
At the start of a new year I like to think about what I could improve on in my job - what could I do differently? Is there a different approach I could try with our empty home owners, or target a specific area or type of property maybe…?
I always thought that having national empty homes week at the end of November/start of December was never a good time for me to be contacting empty home owners. My usual tack is to write to my empty home owners in January, once Christmas and celebrations are over. But I've done a complete about-turn on this!
At the October meeting of our regional Cumbria Empty Property Group (which consists of three carrying out full-time empty homes work, and the other three where empty homes is a small part of their jobs), we had a 'Eureka' moment!
We’re almost into National Empty Homes Week again! 28th November to 2nd December this year.
We’re moving forward with the empty home owners who contacted Homesmatch to help bring their empty home back into use.
I thought I’d focus on one of the properties which had been empty for a long time and was looking very sorry for itself. The owner was at his wits end. He’d unsuccessfully tried to sell it by auction and really didn’t know what to do next. The repairs were going to be expensive, and there was nothing else I could do to help him – except to ‘signpost’ the Homesmatch service.