Council scheme to bring empty properties back into use

By on 08/03/2012 in News

The Council has successfully bid for cash from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to build upon its track record of returning empty properties into use.  As part of these plans, the city council is proposing the creation of  a Revolving Loan Fund to help home owners.

The Fund would offer the owners an affordable loan to carry out work needed to bring them back into use in return for the lease of the property as an affordable rented home.  The three-year scheme would run until 2015 and the council will target houses suitable for families.  Approximately 200 new homes will be secured.

Cllr John Lines, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We are delighted that the HCA has supported our proposals and we look forward to working with them on this exciting initiative.

“Birmingham City Council has a long-standing commitment to tackling empty homes. We recognise that empty homes are a valuable resource that must be used to help meet the pressing housing needs in the city.  Since 2004 1,642 homes have been brought back into use.

“The impact empty homes have on neighbourhoods should not be underestimated, living next to or in the vicinity of empty houses can be an unpleasant and difficult experience for local residents.  As well as providing affordable housing, this scheme will remove a potential source of neighbourhood nuisance.”

The condition of empty properties in the city ranges from good to semi-derelict.  Initially, the Fund will target properties that are in relatively good condition.  Every property included in the programme will also be assessed for eligibility for the Birmingham Energy Savers (Green Deal) programme, offering a further incentive to owners of empty homes to get involved and cheaper fuel bills for tenants.

The repayment of loans will create an ongoing, sustainable fund of £3m to bring further empty homes into use in future years. The City Council is also contributing £1m of its own money to match funding to get the scheme up and running.

Any owners of empty properties who are interested in finding out more about the scheme should contact the Empty Homes Team on 0121 675 5497.

Ends.

For media enquiries only contact Karen Blanchette on 0121 303 6969.

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