Funding boost for South Ayrshire empty homes
16 September 2011
South Ayrshire Council’s bid for £414,271 funding for its strategy for bringing empty homes back into use is one of the winners in the first round of bids to the Scottish Government’s Innovation Fund.
Under the Empty Home PSL Loan Scheme, empty home owners could access an interest free loan of up to £12,000 to help bring their properties up to the South Ayrshire Council letting standard. In return, the Council would lease the property for three to five years and the landlord’s rental income would be used to pay off the loan - at the end of the lease leaving the landlord with a refurbished property at no cost to them.
Currently empty home owners pay council tax and incur other expenses related to their empty property. However, with a tenant in place, rent is being paid and tenants are responsible for council tax, adding further financial incentive for owners of long-term empty homes to work with councils to bring the properties back in to use.
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership – funded by the Scottish Government and coordinated by Shelter Scotland - works to remove barriers that might be in the way of councils and landlords bringing private empty homes back into use.
www.reportemptyhomes.com is where people can report the address or postcode of a suspected empty home – information which will then be fed back to the council.
Kristen Miller, co-ordinator of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said:
“The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is delighted that South Ayrshire Council’s bid to the Innovation Fund for an empty homes loan fund has been successful. South Ayrshire Council has been an enthusiastic member of the Scottish Empty Homes Officer Network since its inception and is well placed to make the most of this opportunity to bring private sector empty homes back into use.
“Bringing empty homes back into use contributes to society positively on a number of levels - in particular through housing supply, local regeneration, supporting rural communities and community safety.”
Councillor Douglas Campbell, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing said:
“I’m delighted we’ve been awarded £414,271 by the Scottish Government’s Innovation and Investment Fund.
“Today’s news complements the work we have undertaken already with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership and local private landlords, to help families access high quality accommodation.
“The award will help to bring 30 homes, owned by private landlords up to the standards we require, suitable for rent to Council tenants, easing the pressure on housing waiting lists.
“This fits in with the Council’s commitment to make sure every person in our community has access to safe, secure and high quality accommodation and will help us support vulnerable members of society who need somewhere to live. It really is great news for our tenants.”