New loan scheme aims to bring empty homes back into use
Simon Read is Personal Finance Editor at The Independent. He edits the Saturday Your Money section and writes the Daily Money column and Wednesday’s Midweek Money section in i newspaper. He also writes for the news and business pages of the Independent and i newspaper and is a regular money commentator on TV station London Live. He has won numerous awards including Consumer Finance Journalist of the Year.
Personal Finance Editor
Monday 02 September 2013
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.”
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