Leeds ,

Interest free loans available to get empty homes back into use

Leeds City Council has teamed up with Leeds City Credit Union to offer loans to empty property owners to help them get their houses back into use.

Interest free repayment loans of up to £5,000 are available so owners of empty homes are encouraged to get necessary works done. The loan could also cover decorating costs, providing carpets or white goods, turning a house into a home.

To qualify, the owner must have a suitable credit rating and must become a member of the Leeds City Credit Union. The personal loans have to be repaid within two years.

The loans are another tool the council can use to get empty properties back into use. Since March 2012 there has been a net reduction of 1,244 long term empty homes in the city.

Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said:

“We’re doing all we can to help owners turn around as many empty homes as possible.

“The interest free loan is an attractive option that will allow people to get over any small scale financial obstacles and help bring much needed homes back into use.”

Chris Smyth, Leeds City Credit Union's chief executive, said:

“We understand that the financial reality of tackling an empty property can be daunting, but this loan is ideal way of easing that burden and the credit union is very pleased to be supporting this important initiative.”

For more information or to apply contact Empty Homes and Loans service on 0113 395 7151 or go to www.leeds.gov.uk.

Property owners can also benefit from the support of the Empty Homes Doctor. The experienced team will discuss options and tailor an action plan suitable for each property owner. Owners are supported at each step of the process to bring a home back into use.

Support from Leeds City Council means the help and advice from the Empty Homes Doctor is free.