Freedom of Information Request - Long Term Empty Properties

Ashleigh Niamir made this Freedom of Information request to Rochford District Council

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The request was successful.

Ashleigh Niamir

Dear Rochford District Council,

I am writing to you to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:

1) Can the council confirm their current number of Long Term Empty Properties as of the 8th May (those domestic properties which have been empty for six months or older)
2) What work is the council currently undertaking or planning to undertake around reducing their long term empty properties in 2019?
3) During 2018 did you undertake any work around reducing your Long Term Empty Properties. If you did was this done using internal resource or a third party?
4) If yes is the answer to question three, did the council review every single long term property
5) Does the reduction of empty homes in the council area form part of your Housing strategy?
6) Does the council have a budget in place to help support the reduction of empty properties?
7) How much did the council spend on temporary accommodation during 2018?
8) Does the council offer financial support /loans to Long Term Empty property owners to help them bring properties back into use?

Yours faithfully,

Ashleigh

Rochford District Council

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Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

 

 

Dear Ashleigh,

Thank you for your recent communication to Rochford District Council.

I have passed your Freedom of Information request to the Council’s Freedom
of Information team who will reply to your request within the next 20
working days.

Regards

Lynne Strawford, Information Officer, Civic Suite, Customer Services

Rochford District Council

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk Tel: +44 (0) 1268 798600 Ext. 4021

 

[2]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

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FOI, Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ashleigh,

 

Thank you for your request for information which has been dealt with under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

Please find answers to your questions as follows (shown in-turn and in
navy font):

 

1)            Can the council confirm their current number of Long Term
Empty Properties as of the 8th May (those domestic properties which have
been empty for six months or older)

In terms of Council owned properties, please be advised that, Rochford
District Council has 1 property that is currently unoccupied by persons
but used for storage purposes for council business. 

 

In terms of the Rochford district, there are 522 empty properties which
have been empty more than 6 months.  Of these;

o 144 are exempted from Council Tax for a valid reason such as tax payer
deceased or in a care home/hospital
o 75 are second homes where the tax payers’ main residence is elsewhere
o 19 are uninhabitable with major works ongoing
o 8 are empty caravans or annexes
o 58 are subject to the Long Term Empty Premium charge, of these 35 have
been empty for five years or more. 8 of the 35 LTEP properties (22%)
are owned by the MOD on Foulness Island and are constrained from
redevelopment by their own available budget
o This leaves 218 properties empty between 6 months and two years.

 

2)            What work is the council currently undertaking or planning
to undertake around reducing their long term empty properties in 2019?

Monitoring

All empty properties over six months get reviewed for signs of occupation
or reoccupation, this could be new credit data information and/or
electoral registration data for persons that are not previous residents.
 We would then confirm occupation and register them for Council Tax and
remove the empty tag.  Should the Council receive no response to the
occupation letter we would visit the property to ascertain who is living
there.

 

General

Regular letter drops to all empty property owners advising of support and
possible low level intervention, if needed.

 

Private housing empty homes offer linked to housing options nomination
agreement. See Q.8

 

3)            During 2018 did you undertake any work around reducing your
Long Term Empty Properties. If you did was this done using internal
resource or a third party?

Yes – internal resources.

 

4)            If yes is the answer to question three, did the council
review every single long term property

All LTE premium properties over 5 years old have been visited by Council
Officers.  They have been photographed and the tax payer contacted
offering our well homes scheme.  This exercise saw a 22% reduction in LTEP
properties in our first wave of contact and a further decrease when the
increase in the premium rose from 150% to 200% in April 2019.

All premium properties had been contacted in advance of the increase to
try and encourage them to do something with their properties before the
increased kicked in.

 

5)            Does the reduction of empty homes in the council area form
part of your Housing strategy?

Empty home work is included in the Council’s Housing and Homeless Strategy

 

6)            Does the council have a budget in place to help support the
reduction of empty properties?

No dedicated budget

 

7)            How much did the council spend on temporary accommodation
during 2018?

2017/18 2018/19
Temp Accommodation gross          
costs 749,856    504,481
         
Staffing costs 227,121    241,701
           
Sundry costs 81,006      60,908
     
Gross Homelessness costs 1,057,983    807,090
-       
Income (net of Subsidy) 235,066 - 137,492
-         
Income 33,858 -   76,394
   
Net homelessness costs 789,058.72    593,204

 

8)            Does the council offer financial support /loans to Long Term
Empty property owners to help them bring properties back into use?

Yes - [1]https://www.rochford.gov.uk/empty-proper...

 

 

I trust that you find the above information useful, but if you are unhappy
with the way in which your request for information has been dealt with,
you can request a review by writing to the Assistant Director of Legal
Services, Rochford District Council, South Street, Rochford SS4 1BW or
alternatively by email to [2][Rochford District Council request email].

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
then you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF [3]www.ico.org.uk.

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

 

Thanks and Regards

Julie

 

Julie O’Brien, Information Co-ordinator, Legal Services

Rochford District Council

[4][email address]

[5]www.rochford.gov.uk t + 44 (0) 1702 318 068, ext. 3704

 

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From: Customer Services <[email address]>
Sent: 14 May 2019 10:03
To: 'Ashleigh Niamir' <[FOI #576212 email]>
Cc: FOI <[email address]>
Subject: RE: 7300-LS-Freedom of Information request - Freedom of
Information Request - Long Term Empty Properties

 

 

 

Dear Ashleigh,

Thank you for your recent communication to Rochford District Council.

I have passed your Freedom of Information request to the Council’s Freedom
of Information team who will reply to your request within the next 20
working days.

Regards

Lynne Strawford, Information Officer, Civic Suite, Customer Services

Rochford District Council

[7]www.rochford.gov.uk Tel: +44 (0) 1268 798600 Ext. 4021

 

[8]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

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