Long Term Empty Properties

Harriet Bell made this Freedom of Information request to Bassetlaw District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Bassetlaw District Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Bassetlaw 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,

Harriet Bell

Janet Askew, Bassetlaw District Council

PLEASE NOTE ALL FOI REQUESTS/RESPONSES/QUERIES ETC SHOULD BE SENT TO
[email address] AS THEY WILL NOT BE DEALT WITH OTHERWISE

 

I am not in the office now until Tuesday 7 May 2019 if you have any
queries please ring:

 

01909 533533 ask for

 

Stephen Wormald or alternatively email - [email address]

Stella Bacon or alternatively email – [1][email address]

Kerry France or alternatively email - [email address]

Anna Bownes Webster or alternatively email -
[email address]

 

Thank you

 

 

 

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Janet Askew
[2]Bassetlaw District Legal Administrator
Council Bassetlaw District Council Queens Buildings, Potter
Street, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 2AH
W: [3]www.bassetlaw.gov.uk

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Rob King, Bassetlaw District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sir/Madam

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

REFERENCE 282-19 Bell

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 13^th May 2019.

 

Your request is being considered and, subject to the points made below,
you will receive the information requested as promptly as possible within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

 

If we need to obtain more information from you in order to understand what
information you require, we will contact you. If this is the case, the 20
day time limit will not commence until your request has been clarified.

 

The Act defines a number of exemptions that may prevent release of certain
information.  Bassetlaw District Council will consider whether any of
these exemptions apply and, where required by the Act, whether it is in
the public interest to release the information.  If we have to make a
public interest test, the 20 day time limit might be extended. We will
inform you if the time scale has to be extended and if any information is
withheld and of your rights of appeal.

 

Bassetlaw District Council would like to make you aware that disclosure of
information obtained through FOIA is a disclosure into the public domain.

 

The District Council’s standard approach is to provide the information in
the form in which we hold it.  If you require alternative formats, e.g.
audio, large print, etc. or a different language, please let me know and
we will provide it if reasonably practicable to do so. If your request is
a question and we do not hold the answer in recorded form we will try and
provide an answer where we are able unless it requires the creation of new
information.

 

There may be a fee payable for this information request and we will send
you a Fees Notice if this is the case. Any fee must be paid before the
request is provided.  The time between the issue of the Fees Notice and
receipt of payment is excluded from the calculation of the 20 working day
time limit.

 

Any personal information you provide in relation to this request will only
be used for the purposes of processing your request for information.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact The Central
Freedom of Information Officer, Bassetlaw District Council, Queen’s
Buildings, Potter Street, Worksop, S80 2AH, telephone 01909 533533, e-mail
[1][email address].

 

Rob King

Service Development Manager

 

Housing Services

Bassetlaw District Council

Carlton Forest House, Hundred Acre Lane, Worksop, Notts, S81 0TS

Tel 01909 533736  [2]www.bassetlaw.gov.uk

[3]BDC Sep 2018 135x39

 

 

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Rob King
[4]Bassetlaw District Council Performance Manager
, , , ,
W: [5]www.bassetlaw.gov.uk

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Rob King, Bassetlaw District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Request For Information 

 

I refer to your email of 13^th May 2019, requesting information pursuant
to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your request can be summarised as
asking for details on long term empty properties in the area.

 

Whilst the Act confers a general right of access to information held by
public authorities section 1 provides that “any person making a request
for information to a public authority is entitled:

 

a)            to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it
holds information of the description specified in the request; and

 

b)            if that is the case to have that information communicated to
him”, subject to the effect of the exemptions in Part 11 of the Act.

 

Therefore pursuant to the Council’s duty to confirm or deny whether or not
it holds the information requested, I can confirm that we hold the
information you have requested and the answers are detailed below.

 

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)

 

Private Sector:  656

Council Properties:  11

 

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

 

Private Sector:  The 3 members of staff who undertake all the housing work
at BDC for Environmental Health, have a list of houses that have been
empty for more than 6 months. Each member of staff works through their
list and undertakes investigations, inspections, writes letters, serves
notices (as appropriate) to investigate why a house is empty and what the
owner intends to do with it. We have undertaken an enforced sale, and
introduced empty sellers to empty buyers. We offer a loan of up to £12,000
(there are terms and conditions) in relation to bringing properties back
into use. We also keep notes on the number of notices served, letters
sent, and whether the empties are on the open market for sale or under
renovation.

 

Council Properties:  All 11 long term voids are sheltered properties which
have been affected by new fire guidance regulations.  The council is in
the process of putting plans in place to redevelop one scheme, and in
another scheme consideration is being given to convert two flats into one
where the void flats are next to each other, thereby redesigning the
properties to meet current fire evacuation standards

 

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?

 

Private Sector:  We did the same type of work as listed in point 2 – we
brought 29 properties back into use and this was done by using internal
resources.

 

Council Properties:  No specific plans were developed in 2018

 

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

 

Private Sector:  No, it wouldn’t be possible for the team to review every
single empty, as the team was only 2 persons until April 2019.

 

(Council Properties:  All properties are inspected when they become void
and a decision made on what action is required before re-letting).

 

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

 

Yes.  There is also a dedicated strategy for empty homes which underpins
the Housing Strategy.

 

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

 

Private Sector:  There isn’t a specific budget available for reducing the
numbers of empty properties. However, we do use works in default powers &
put charges on properties.

 

Council Properties:  Any necessary budget will form part of the Major
Improvement Programme.

 

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

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|   | |
| | |
| 2017/18 | £36,504.10 |
| | |
|   |   |
|-----------+------------------------------------------------------------|
|   | |
| | |
| 2018/19 | £57,697.00 |
| | |
|   |   |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

 

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

 

Yes, loans of up to £12,000 (dependant on circumstances). However, uptake
is very low.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the Freedom of Information response set out
in this letter you are able to utilise the Council’s complaints procedure
which allows one right of review via this system.  Details can be found
using the link below:

 

[1]https://selfservice.bassetlaw.gov.uk/ren...

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint
the Act confers a further right to complain to the Information
Commissioner at [2]www.ico.gov.uk or by writing to Information
Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
(telephone 06125 545745), email [3][email address], however the
Information Commissioner will not usually consider a complaint if the
complainant has not utilised their one right of review via the Council’s
complaints procedure.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Rob King

Service Development Manager

 

Housing Services

Bassetlaw District Council

Carlton Forest House, Hundred Acre Lane, Worksop, Notts, S81 0TS

Tel 01909 533736  [4]www.bassetlaw.gov.uk

[5]BDC Sep 2018 135x39

 

 

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Rob King
[6]Bassetlaw District Council Performance Manager
, , , ,
W: [7]www.bassetlaw.gov.uk

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