Today’s piece will recognize the achievement of the joint winner of the Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year Award 2018, Lorna Frost, Environmental Health Officer, at the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
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The Empty Homes Awards were presented at the 2018 Conference in Birmingham on 18th October, and we'll be recognising the various award winners in news items over the next few days.
First up are the winners of the Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year Award, sponsored by Kent No Use Empty.
There were two winner this year and we think they each deserve their own story. Today, we are recognising the achievement of Sue Li.
Will McMahon, the Director of campaigning charity Action on Empty Homes, praised our Empty Homes Conference as a 'highlight' of Empty Homes Week, in his blog post on our website.
Action on Empty Homes took the opportunity of the Conference to relaunch the organisation under its new title, with Will McMahon (pictured left) introducing himself to the practitioner world at large by initiating a dialogue with those present.
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Our partners and champions at Action on Empty Homes (previously 'Empty Homes' and 'Empty Homes Agency') issued the following press release for Empty Homes Week:
Campaign calls for an end to the scandal of hundreds of thousands of empty homes
At the start of Empty Homes Week 15 – 21 October 2018, Action on Empty Homes is calling on the government to support local authorities to enable them to refurbish the hundreds of thousands of properties standing empty across England.
Following our announcement of E.ON’s Awards sponsorship (see our story ‘E.ON launches Empty Homes Awards season’) the company has provided more details of its new partnership project to tackle empty homes..
Most people will probably be familiar with E.ON as an Energy supplier, but it is proving itself to be much more than that. E.ON describes itself as
We don't feel we have had enough submissions in 3 of our Empty Homes Awards Categories, and so we are extending the deadline for these for another week, until 2359 on Tuesday, 9th October.
The three Awards categories we are holding open are:
- Innovation Award – sponsored by E.ON
- Practitioner of the Year Award – sponsored by Kent No Use Empty
- 'Rising Star' Award – sponsored by Orbis Protect
It seems that modesty prevails. Don't be shy - your work is more valuable than you may think.
We are pleased to announce that Orbis Protect is sponsoring a new ‘Rising Star’ Award as part of this year’s Empty Homes Awards. This award is intended to recognise and reward emerging empty homes practitioners who have made significant contributions over a short period of time.
Louis Fordham, Orbis Protect - Business Development Director for the Social Housing Sector, said:
It’s the Empty Homes Awards season, and we are very grateful to energy supplier E.ON for providing the launch-pad this year. E.ON is sponsoring both the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Empty Homes Conference on the 18th October and also this year’s Innovation Award.
Can you help production company Two Four source interesting empty homes projects to highlight in a forthcoming series for the BBC?
Based on what we know so far, this is an excellent opportunity to highlight the contribution that empty homes practitioners make or to reveal issues we face.
Over to Vicki Pratt of Two Four:
Preparations are well in hand for the national Empty Homes Conference to be held in Birmingham on Thursday, 18th October.
The campaigning charity Empty Homes (previously the Empty Homes Agency and soon to be 'Action on Empty Homes') has initiated a major new 'Campaign for Community Investment' that lobbies for capital investment in areas with higher numbers of empty homes.
The House of Lords has inserted an amendment into the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill that introduces an escalator into the amount of Empty Homes Premium payable according to how long a dwelling has been empty. The amendment was supported by the government which suggests that it will be accepted in the Commons.
Recently-appointed Dominic Raab has been replaced as Minister of State for Housing by Kit Malthouse, now the eighth minister to hold the housing portfolio in 8 years.
Given the normally short-term nature of such appointments, there seems little point in devoting serious brain-power to anything that might be called 'research' into the latest incumbent of the role. As an alternative, here are some useful links:
The government has launched a £163 million fund to support community-led affordable housing. The scheme is being administered by Homes England (the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency) and bids are invited under a 'continuous market engagement' process that will continue until all the money has been allocated or December 2019, whichever comes first.
Crucially, the Prospectus makes it clear that the scheme is available for conversions and refurbishment:
A major report published by Anglia Research reveals a considerable amount of uncertainty, inconsistency and questionable practice amongst local authorities using probate researchers (or 'tracing agents'). For empty homes practitioners seeking to use tracing agents to locate missing owners, the report highlights some of the risks involved and the need for due diligence and robust procedures to control those risks. It warrants close reading.
Kent's No Use Empty (NUE) initiative scooped the award for ‘Outstanding approach to regeneration’ at the UK Housing Awards event at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in central London.
The UK Housing Awards, run by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing, is the largest and longest running awards in the sector and is now in its third decade.
The 23rd report from the Intergenerational Commission, entitled A New Generational Contract, includes surcharges on second and empty homes as part of its 10 main policy recommendations.
Recommendation number 6 reads:
Replace council tax with a progressive property tax with surcharges on second and empty properties; halve stamp duty rates to encourage moving; and offer a time-limited capital gains tax cut to incentivise o of additional properties to sell to rst-time buyers.
Empty Homes, the national campaigning charity, has a project to spread community-based regeneration in areas with high levels of empty homes. We are following demonstration projects where community-based organisations are bringing empty homes into use in areas with high levels of empty homes. We want to share their experiences and encourage other organisations to look at how community-based regeneration could work in such neighbourhoods to tackle the underlying causes of empty homes.