Bringing empty homes back into use
It's National Empty Homes Week 2018 this week (15 - 21 October). It is a chance to raise awareness, celebrate progress and consider what more needs to be done to bring empty homes back into use to help meet housing needs.
In 2017, the number of long-term empty homes recorded by English local authorities was 205,293. Not only are empty properties typically unsightly as their condition deteriorates over time, they also bring the value of neighbouring properties and reduce the availability of local housing. Mendip District Council is working with empty property owners to assist them to bring their properties back into use.
Often one of the barriers for bringing a property back in use is the financial contribution needed. Mendip District Council can provide advice and support to owners and have a grant and loan scheme available to assist with completing work to help improve the property for rental, sale or for your own residence.
There are two ways the council can support financially, firstly the council works in partnership with not-for-profit lender Wessex Resolutions CIC to provide finance for home repairs. This enables an owner to then either rent their newly renovated property to put it on the market or move back into it themselves. By bringing an empty property back into use, the local community benefits through the addition of new housing and a pleasant place to live.
A further option offered by Mendip District Council is a grant scheme once a property has been empty for six months or more. Three levels of grant are available:
- Up to £3,000 to bring empty home back into use
- Up to £5,000 to bring an empty home back into use and rent it for minimum of 12 months
- Up to £15,000 to bring an empty home back into use and rent it at local housing allowance rate to tenants nominated by the council for five years
Cllr Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Growth and Housing Services, said; "Empty properties are a wasted resource, especially when demand for affordable good quality housing in Mendip remains high.
"We would encourage owners of empty properties in Mendip to contact the private sector housing team, who can offer advice and in some cases funding to assist property owners in making affordable homes available for local people."
For more information about the support that the council can offer for owners of empty homes in Mendip, visit; www.mendip.gov.uk/emptyproperties or for information on the loans available call Wessex Resolutions direct on 01823 461099, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wrcic.org.uk