East Hampshire District Council estimates it will receive more than £125,000 in additional revenue following an empty property review of its housing stock. As a result, the local authority’s citizens will benefit from further investment in front line improvements to public services. The review also helped reduce the risk of fraud, as well as maximising the revenue opportunity created by the New Homes Bonus Scheme.
East Hampshire District Council was tasked with maximising the new homes bonus. There were more than 300 long-term empty properties. But with budgets under scrutiny and resources at a premium, the local authority needed to find a cost-effective route to identify which homes were no longer empty, while at the same time checking the accuracy of Council Tax records and minimising the risk of fraud.
Local authorities need to have a comprehensive record of the status of properties. However, residents may not necessarily view a change in their property status arising from updates to Council Tax billing as significant. Therefore, they may not appreciate the importance of informing their local authority of any changes.
But in order to allow the council to maximise the new homes bonus, its records need to be up to date. Authorities are continually investing more resources in establishing and maintaining records. This allows for more accurate budgeting, protection of the public purse and provides a true picture of Council Tax records.
Our Empty Property Analysis is underpinned by our vast datasets, which highlight the levels of activity and recent linked account information registered at each separate address.
To help East Hampshire prioritise its workload and flag up high to medium-risk properties, a set of critical indicators were created.
We worked with key stakeholders in East Hampshire District Council to provide the critical information needed for council staff to effectively and accurately complete further investigations with a high level of confidence.
Nearly 40 properties were quickly highlighted as high to medium-risk of being empty. East Hampshire staff then carried out their own investigations. As a result, the authority’s ability to get Council Tax records up to date increased its New Homes Bonus in Year 1 by an estimated £26,600. East Hampshire will directly receive £21,280, with Hampshire County Council also receiving more than £5,000.
During the scheme’s duration it is estimated East Hampshire District Council will benefit from more than £125,000 in additional revenue, to invest in public services. The empty property analysis also reduces the risk of fraud, helps protect council budgets and the public purse.
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