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Property Guardian firms make strides towards self-regulation

Seven leading firms within the Property Guardian industry have taken a major step forwards towards self-regulation with the publication of a detailed new guide on the legal framwework that protects property guardians.

Entitled 'The law on property guardianship', the document describes itself as 'a white paper setting out the health, safety and legal status of security through occupation'.  It is written by three lawyers, including Giles Peaker, who has often made robust comments about some industry practices in his nearlylegal blog and is clearly not anyone's poodle.

Empty Property Officer job opportunity - Cherwell and South Northamptonshire

[Paid-for Contentl]

An exciting opportunity has arisen to work as the Empty Property Officer for Cherwell District and South Northamptonshire Councils, on a 3-year fixed term contract with a salary of up to £3,349.58 plus benefits. The closing date for applications is 28th January.

The advertisement for the post follows.

Empty Property Officer Ref. PSH017
Three-year fixed-term contract
£28,975.86 - £33,349.58 

Plus benefits

The Job:

Autumn Budget - New Homes Bonus News

Empty Home Premium would become chargeable at 200% of Full Charge! So said Fiscal Phil Hammond. If you've been busy calculating the increased revenue your Council may earn next year, hold your horses. As the change will require a change to primary legislation, the 200% charge might not be lawful until 1st April 2019. So don't count on any extra revenue in 2018.

Are you confident that you actually know how NHB was calculated for 2016/17. I must admit, I am a little lost and therefore quite ashamed.  

 

Alok Sharma supports community-led housing sector with £60million

In a speech to the first Community-Led Housing Conference, Alok Sharma MP praised the sector and announced a new programme of financial support.

£60million has already been given to local authorities with high levels of second home ownership. The minister has now offered a further £60million to help fund further development 'for the first year alone', implying an ongoing programme. This accords with the announcement for the original £60million, which was presented as a 'hypothecation' from the additional revenue being raised by the 3% SDLT surcharge on purchases of second homes.

BBC Shared Data Unit provides major new empty homes data resource

The BBCs newly launched Shared Data Unit has already produced a major new data resource for empty homes.[1]

This shows great promise as far as future reporting of the empty homes issue is concerned, given the evident attention to detail shown in the data series and the clear intention to produce more meaningful statistics by intelligently correlating the raw government data on empties with other variables such as population.

From Taskforce to task farce

EDITORIAL

The recently published report by the Independent Task Force into the Grenfell fire recovery makes frustrating reading. Leaving aside the detail, the bigger picture is one where the Grenfell survivors are caught in the middle of an experiment to reconstruct on the fly a local authority which all concerned agree failed abjectly in its initial response to the tragedy. 

Bolsover District Council Celebrate Empty Homes Week

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North East Derbyshire District Council Celebrate Empty Homes Week

North East Derbyshire District Council are celebrating Empty Homes week by holding an event for owners of empty properties across the District. The event has been jointly organised between the Council and Action Housing - who are a Social Housing provider - and has been designed to promote their 'Sustainable Tenancy Project' which aims to provide housing for young people aged 18-24 who have support needs.

Property Guardian Pocket Guide - 1st draft published by University of York

Building on the interim findings of the current Property Guardian Research project, Professor Caroline Hunter and Jed Meers at York Law School have compiled a draft ‘Local Authority Pocket Guide to Property Guardians.’

They intend the guide to provide a 101 grounding in the phenomenon and address some of the key issues, particularly: the lease/licence distinction, the application of controls and standards under the Housing Act 2004, and statutory nuisances under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Chris Skinner receives posthumous award

EHN members will be pleased to hear that Chris Skinner has been honoured by our local Law Society. There was a spontaneous standing ovation at the awards ceremony whilst Chris’ children went up on stage to receive the award on his behalf.

The press announcement is reproduced below:

Local government lawyer Chris Skinner has been posthumously awarded for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession in Norfolk by the Norwich and Norfolk Law Society.

Empty Homes Week announcement

A letter has gone out to Chief Executives and Leaders of local authorities from Helen Williams of the charity Empty Home, announcing Empty Homes Week 2017.  We're sure our  members will be pulling out the stops to make the week a successful one.

The full text of the letter is reproduced below:

Dear Colleague,

Grenfell and empty homes - EHN draft contribution to the Inquiry

I have just posted a discussion draft of a document that may be submitted to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and that explores the relevance - or potential relevance - of empty homes for the disaster.

Given media reports of Grenfell survivors continuing to live in hotels, the frequent references to empty homes in Kensington and Chelsea, and the headlines when senior Labour politicians proposed requisitioning empty homes to meet the survivors' immediate housing needs, some kind of formal input from the Network seems essential.

London Mayor calls for higher EHP on luxury empties

Editorial

Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, has written to the government requesting powers to levy higher council tax on empty high-value homes. The press release does not state what level of tax should be charged but says it should be set

'at a meaningful rate that would incentivise occupation, or at the very least generate a more substantial receipt that could support investment in new affordable homes and other measures to tackle the housing crisis.'

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