Loan scheme to tackle England's 710,000 empty homes
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development, Finance
A new scheme has been launched to try and bring some of England's 710,000 empty homes back into use.
In a joint initiative between the charity Empty Homes, Ecology Building Society, the government and 39 local authorities, the scheme will provide loans of up to £15,000 to owners of empty properties to help bring them back into affordable use.
The fund was one of the demands of last year’s Great British Property Scandal campaign led by architect and broadcaster George Clarke.
The National Empty Homes Loan Fund (NEHLF) will enable access to secured loans at a fixed 5% interest rate.
The NEHLF has been funded by a grant of £3 million from the government and is being administered by Ecology Building Society, a specialist mortgage lender that supports sustainable communities.
It is hoped the scheme will provide funding for hundreds of properties. It is available to people aged 18 and over who own a property that has been empty for six months or more.
Commenting on the launch of the scheme, George Clarke said: “I care passionately about getting England’s empty homes back into use for people who need them. This scheme provides real help to property owners to help achieve that.”
David Ireland OBE, chief executive of Empty Homes, said: “We know that many homes are empty because it is difficult for owners to raise the money that is required to bring them back up to a habitable standard. This initiative will kick-start efforts to tackle this.
“This scheme is a real first in England and is a great example of central government working together with the public and private sector to try and reduce the number of empty homes in the UK.
“We hope the fund will enable hundreds of empty homes to be brought back up to standard and back into the housing stock.”