New loan scheme aims to bring empty homes back into use


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The Independent Online

A new scheme hopes to help solve the country’s housing shortage by handing cheap loans to owners of Britain’s 710,000 empty properties.

The cash – up to £15,000 per property – will be offered to help with renovations through a new Government-backed £3m National Homes Empty Loan Fund, which has been set up following last year’s Great British Property Scandal campaign by architect George Clarke.

It will be administered by green lender the Ecology building society in conjunction with the Empty Homes charity and 39 local authorities.

David Ireland, chief executive of Empty Homes, said: “Many homes are empty because it is difficult for owners to raise the money needed to bring them back up to a habitable standard. The scheme will kick-start efforts to tackle this.”

The loans will be charged at a fixed 5 per cent and are available to those who own a property that has been empty for six months or more.

Ecology chief Paul Ellis said: “At a time when there is increasing demand for homes but an acute lack of supply, it makes sense to bring new life to existing but neglected properties.”