Council find cash in empty homes

Around one hundred thousand pounds has helped boost council coffers by bringing empty homes in Stafford Borough back into use.

 

More than 60 properties have been brought back over a 15 month period by Stafford Borough Council. It means the properties have attracted government ‘New Homes Bonus’ cash of nearly £90,000 as well as thousands of pounds in Council Tax.

Homes become empty or fall into disrepair for a variety of reasons including death of an owner, family disputes or lack of finance. But the council has been working with owners to help them refurbish properties to be either sold on, rented out or lived in by the owner.

One way in which the council has helped bring properties back into use is through an ‘Empty Homes Loan’ scheme. This allows interest free loans of up to £10,000 to the owner which is paid back in full once the redeveloped property is sold on. Or if the owner chooses to rent the property out the loan can be repaid in instalments over two years.

Some empty properties are also purchased by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) to add to their social housing stock.

Cabinet Member for Community, Councillor Patrick Farrington, said:

“Empty homes can bring many unwanted problems to a community and are a wasted resource so it is our priority to bring as many of these back into use as possible.

“So if you have an empty home then please get in contact with us so we can work together to ensure they do not fall into disrepair.”

 

The ‘New Homes Bonus’ is a central government grant which councils receive based on the amount of extra council tax revenue they raise for new-build homes, conversions and long term empty homes brought back into use.

The borough council have brought 62 properties back into use through a number of measures including the loans scheme and mediation with the owners – but as a last resort they may have to take legal action.

For more information on what to do if you own an empty property visit www.staffordbc.gov.uk/empty-home-assistance

To report an empty home email housingstandards@staffordbc.gov.uk or contact the council on 01785 619000