Raising awareness of empty homes during national Empty Homes Week 2021
During Empty Homes Week, South Somerset District Council are taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the support they provide to owners to bring empty homes back into use.
Properties can remain empty for a number of reasons which can sometimes be complex, or costly, for owners to resolve. Across South Somerset, there are currently 1,065 properties that have been unoccupied for three months or more.
Of the empty properties, 133 have been empty between two and five years where owners must pay double the annual council tax bill due. A total of 62 properties have been empty for over five years, with owners having to pay a staggering 300% i.e. three times the annual council tax amount for the property.
The council recognises the value to the local housing sector and communities in turning these properties into homes. Rather than relying on enforcement action, the council are working with Lendology CIC to provide finance options instead.
Lendology CIC are a Somerset based Social Enterprise, lending council funds to a variety of homeowners for essential home repairs, improvements or adaptations. The Empty Property Loan Scheme offers eligible applicants finance to enable them to renovate their empty property. The loan has been developed with options for deferred repayment, which could be particularly useful for those unable to make monthly repayments until the property has been renovated. Once the renovation works are complete, the owner can choose to rent the property or sell it and either option brings a home back into use.
Councillor Tony Lock, portfolio holder at South Somerset District Council for Protecting Core Services, said: “There are a range of different options available for homeowners who have an empty property and the Empty Homes Loan Scheme is a great example of how you can bring an empty property back in to use for families to live in and therefore reducing the number of people needing to access temporary accommodation or social housing long-term.”
(4% fixed interest rate, Typical 4.2% APR) Borrow £5,000 over 60 months. £92.08 monthly repayments. Total amount repayable = £5,544.96, including £20 fee for registering the Title Restriction. Missing payments could affect your credit rating and ability to obtain credit in the future. Loans are subject to status and are typically protected by a Title Restriction. This means that you may not be able to sell your home without our permission unless the loan is fully repaid.