Arun District Council recognised for success in Empty Home Network Awards

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Arun District Council was recognised by judges at this year’s Empty Homes Network Awards, a spokesperson has said.

The local authority won the Best Partnership Award at this year’s event, recognising the council’s proven track record of returning empty homes to use.

The award was given for the work Arun District Council staff do on empty deceased accounts, alongside the Benefits and Revenue Team and partners Fraser and Fraser, Genealogists

and International Probate Researchers.

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Arun District Council Civic Centre. Photo: Google Maps.Arun District Council Civic Centre. Photo: Google Maps.
Arun District Council Civic Centre. Photo: Google Maps.

Managing the use of this kind of property (Class F), can be challenging since, when probate hasn’t been granted, there are sensitive backgrounds involved and, with limited information available it is sometimes difficult to move the properties on,

The award comes after empty homes officer Helen Stevens realised that Class F properties across the district were adding to empty homes numbers and decided to widen the empty homes remit in order to include properties sitting unused because probate hadn’t been granted.

An assessment identified how many homes fell into this category and the scope of the work involved. Afterwards, the team started to work with Fraser and Fraser to help with the Class F accounts which had been waiting for probate for 18 months or more. They were shocked to discover the length of time that some of the properties had sat empty; some had been exempt for over ten years and the first the team tackled had been unoccupied for 18.

"Our figures showed that if all Class F properties were bought back into use, an extra 46 homes would be utilised as there intended purpose. In addition, based on an average council tax charge, it would create an additional income to the council of just under £1million and if those we are initially focusing on came back into use it would be an additional income of just under £100,000,” a spokesperson said.

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Much of the work the district council does in this respect relies on the co-operation of proactive residents. Members of the public who see or are aware of empty properties in the district can report them online via the Arun District Council website.

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