Empty Homes Assistance and Strategy

Empty properties are not only a wasted housing resource, they can also cause problems, attract squatting, anti-social behaviour, vandalism, get overgrown, filled with rubbish and become an eyesore and blight on the neighbourhood.

 

Empty Homes Strategy

The Empty Homes Strategy (4 pages) has recently been developed in partnership with Mendip District Council to help deal with the problem of empty properties.

What assistance is available for Empty Properties ?

1. Leasing Scheme

The Council operate in partnership with "Somerset Care and Repair" and are able to offer owners of empty properties an affordable way to renovate their asset. 

This is done by the owner leasing the property to Somerset Care & Repair for a fixed period.  Under the scheme the property must be leased for a minimum of seven years and the cost of any repairs are deducted from the future rental stream.  "Somerset Care & Repair" manage the property during the lease period and the owner can safely leave them to do this.

When all the debt has been paid back the owner will profit from the remaining rent (less management costs). The main benefit of taking up this scheme is at the end of the lease, the owner will have a property in good repair ready to either sell or continue renting. 

Please see leaflet for full details

(Please note that you are advised to take legal advice from a solicitor before entering into an agreement with this or any other lease company or commercial organisation)

 

 

2. Empty property loans

A Loan is financial assistance we can offer you to help bring homes back into use. Loans are subsidised and can be for a figure of up to £15,000.

These loans are administered by Wessex Resolutions C.I.C, (who have recently received a glowing Audit report (12 pages)).

As a condition of the loan, the applicant must agree to accept a council-nominated tenant for a period after the work is complete. In addition, the "new" accommodation has to be let for a period at an agreed rent that would be equivalent to the housing benefit payable on the property.

 

What is the purpose of the loan ?

Empty property loans are designed to assist in creating more rented accommodation in areas of housing need.

The property must have been empty for at least twelve months before assistance can be considered. Financial aid can be paid for providing flats above shops, converting large properties into flats as well as converting non-residential properties into living accommodation for letting.

Loans are only given in areas where housing need can be demonstrated. In town centre locations such as Chard or Yeovil this should not be a problem, but assistance may be less appropriate in some more rural areas.

 

Are there conditions attached to the loan?

Yes. The landlord will have to sign an agreement that the property will be let for a period after the completion of the works. If the property is sold or no longer let within this period we would require repayment of the full sum.

The landlord must agree to take tenants nominated by the council. Normally we will offer a choice of six suitable tenants for consideration. The property must be let at an agreed rent. The rent will usually be equivalent to the housing benefit rate and can be increased annually in line with inflation.

 

How much loan is available?

The maximum loan is £15,000.

 

How do I apply for assistance ?

Initially you should contact the Housing Standards Team to discuss the availability of aid and the potential of your scheme. If your scheme appears feasible, then a site meeting will be arranged to take the matter further.

Contact us to apply for this assistance