Drive to turn city's empty properties into affordable housing
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Empty property owners in Edinburgh are being encouraged to bring their homes back into use as affordable housing.
The Edinburgh Empty Homes Task Force, which was set up last year to tackle the city's vacant properties, is providing loans to help owners meet the costs of refurbishing their homes.
The initiative, which is being delivered by Link2Let (a trading name of Link Housing Association) has received £750,000 from the Scottish government’s Empty Homes Loan Fund.
Once renovations are complete, Link2Let will rent out the property for between five and seven years to help provide affordable, safe and secure homes for people who cannot afford to buy, or who are not a priority for council or housing association tenancies.
Councillor Cammy Day, convenor of the Empty Homes Task Force and the council’s housing leader, said: “One of the first actions of the Capital Coalition was to set up an Empty Homes Task Force. We have written to owners with advice on how they can turn their empty properties into homes and we have also increased the council tax charges for vacant homes as a further incentive to act.
"There is a desperate need for more affordable homes in the city and although Edinburgh has a relatively low number of empty homes, every one that is brought back into use is greatly needed. This new initiative provides a fantastic opportunity for home owners to act now and bring their empty properties back into use as affordable rented homes.”
Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “Empty homes are a wasted resource and a blight on local communities. The Scottish government supports and encourages owners of empty homes in Edinburgh to bring them back into use.
"At a time when affordable housing is in high demand bringing empty homes back into use is an innovative and cost-effective way to increase the supply of housing in Scotland. The Scottish government is working to deliver at least 30,000 affordable homes in Scotland over the lifetime of this parliament and the Empty Homes Task Force can play a valuable role in helping us achieve this.”