Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Unfit Property Update

Regular reader, Mike writes in and says:

“I thought you might be interested in the latest news on TDC much publicised at the time (last year) empty/unfit property grant scheme which offered non repayable grants for unfit housing.

I received a letter from Mr S O'Shea Private Sector Housing manager at TDC this morning regarding my applications for grants for five properties I own which I bought derelict and am looking to improve.

Extract from letter:

"Dear Sir,
Unfit Property Grant Enquiry

Further to my letter to you dated 2005 where I stated your enquiry would not be processed due to the large number of referrals.... I am now writing to confirm that unfortunately the unfit property grants have been discontinued.

The Council have received money from the government for this financial year, the focus for spend however is to be on decent certain vulnerable occupants." etc.

It seems crazy to spend it on decent homes when there are so many derelict properties!

Cheers - Mike


Anonymous said...

TDC are lavish with their publicity about new initiatives, then when it all goes pearshaped - which is quite often - they keep very quiet indeed.
Anyone remember an allied topic to this one - the new TDC Empty property Officer Vicky Dubarry ?
Came a couple of years ago and started her career in Thanet in a blaze of newspaper features and public meetings, went suddenly a year later having accomplished next to nothing except upsetting a lot of property owners.
The current EPO is Mike Thompson, haven't managed to meet him yet, this grant removal won't help his task any.
We really need to clean up these derelict properties, TDC seem to doing nothing positive now they have consciously chosen to spend the grant money elsewhere on "decent" houses, whatever that means in plain English.

Anonymous said...

Why should the Council give you a grant anyway Mike? I presume you have bought these properties cheap, to refurbish them and then sell them, or let them at a profit. Why should the taxpayer help you with that? Or would you have had to make some payment back to the Council out of any profits you made...or have made the houses available for social use?

Anonymous said...

Anon of 2.20 - the point is they announced the grants - now its not happening.
Another good thing not happening in Thanet.
The reasons why they give them are to improve the area,

Remember "regeration" or "renewal"?

If you want to query why the taxpayer should pay a grant - you can ask this of many similar subsidies, for example child allowance.
If you had kids why did you accept child allowance?
Why should the taxpayer subsidise your reproduction?

Ours not to reason why etc etc.

Its the system and you can't beat it.

Its just the way governments work.

Anonymous said...

From one anonymous to another (3.55 pm) there is a world of difference between allowances paid to children, pensioners and whoever as part of the welfare system and grants to someone who will then make a direct personal profit out of them. I fully understand about regeneration, and the benefits of it; but surely local entrepreneurs should not be supported by the state to make a profit. Returning better looking buildings to the community is hardly sufficient pay-back?

Anonymous said...

anon again!

have they (TDC) run out of money again?
Somebody ought to call in some Legal Accountant Advisors to find out exactly where our Council Tax is going & to whom! (They probably had their OWN places done up (TDC) Oh what an awfuk thought)

Anonymous said...

anon again!
awful (not awfuk!)

Anonymous said...

I thought TDC were in the habit of giving out grants willy nilly to Uncle Tom Cobbly.....
How many hoteliers received grants for 'tourism' and promptly sold to developers and despite being required under the terms of the grant were not pursued by TDC to pay back. TDC seems to favour certain individuals in all sorts of ways financially whilst hammering others; warrants investigation and notification to Local Authorities Ombudsman perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Anon of 6.29 - whilst not accepting the validity of your argument I would like to point out that most landlords in this area, although private, are very much social landlords in effect.
Many tenants in this area have their rent paid by Housing Benefit, not at market rate in relation to the resale value of the property.
Yes there are some rogue landlords and poor flats, there are also many landlords who would like to improve their properties for the benefit of their tenants but are unable to do so because of the low rents paid here for many years.
These are some of the properties which would benefit from a grant, these grants (max 20,000 which doesn't go far) would not have enriched anyone in particular but would have improved flats or houses and brought them back into useful housing for needy tenants.
That is (was) the idea of the grants, it 's a sound incentive for landlords to improve their properties and the housing stock in general.
And here is something else to think about:
If you had a derelict house next to your house (adversely affecting your house's value) would you be writing letters of objection to TDC telling them they should not make a renovation grant to the owner?
I think not.

That's enough for now but if you want to continue the discussion - which seems possibly motivated more by dislike of personal profit by property owners than any sound reason - please carry on.

Just remember it was a Labour government which made these grants available, and a Conservative TDC which has discontinued them!

So its not a case of capitalist favouritism.

Anonymous said...

Anon of 7.41, I think you got the spelling right the first time actually.
It certainly echoes my reaction on opening the TDC letter this morning.

Anonymous said...

Also if these grants were made available to do up existing houses the money hopefully would'nt be spent on new builds that are concreting our land.Also it makes the area a nicer place to be without having derelict eyesores{look at the state of the properties next to Margate police station and down the hill,these could be amazing sea front properties}hmm..