National Empty Homes Loans Fund to be launched
A fund is to be launched later in the year which will offer low interest loans to owners of empty properties to help bring them into use as affordable housing.
The National Empty Homes Loans Fund to be run jointly by independent charity Empty Homes and a building society. It has been made possible by a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Empty Homes Community Grants Programme.
Government empty homes loans funds have already been announced in Scotland and Wales and this fund will operate across England.
Although details are not yet finalised low interest loans are likely to be available for up to £10,000 per home. Larger loans may also be available at a higher interest rate.
There are an estimated 720,000 empty homes in England and as a start this fund aims to return more than 300 empty homes to use in its first three years.
Great British Property Scandal
The loans fund was one of the demands of Channel 4′s “Great British Property Scandal” campaign led by architect and independent Empty Homes Adviser George Clarke.
Clarke said: “This is a really exciting development because it marks the point at which the campaign begins to deliver real change to start ending the scandal of empty homes.”
Chief executive of Empty Homes David Ireland commented: “This is fantastic news; the loans fund will help ordinary people and property owners get homes back into use for people who need housing.
"The fund will recycle loans, meaning it will be able to operate long into the future and bring many hundreds if not thousands of empty homes back into use.”
Communities minister Andrew Stunell said: ”The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace – for every two families that need a homes there is one standing empty.
“Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing. I’m delighted to see this loan fund that will bring these houses back to life and offer families a chance of a stable and secure home.”