Leeds offers help to empty home owners with local loan fund
Leeds City Council is offering empty home owners the chance to take up a local loan specifically to help bring their properties back into use.
Leeds has launched its own Leeds Empty Homes Loan which allows empty home owners whose properties have been empty for more than 12 months, to borrow up to £30k to bring their properties back into use.
The loan scheme is available to landlords, potential owner/occupiers and third sector organisations. The loan will be repayable after five years, secured as a first charge against the property and is subject to the same interest rate as the equity loan scheme available to vulnerable home owners. The loan will be paid on completion of the works to ensure that the property is brought back into use, and also means the money can be used again for further projects, as previous loans are paid back more loans can be given out. For more information about the loan or to apply visit www.leeds.gov.uk.
Leeds is also one of the pilot cities involved in the National Empty Loans programme which launched earlier this year. This involves signposting applicants to the scheme and confirming that they are eligible for any loan. The scheme itself is administered by the Empty Homes Agency with a partner financial institution. Owners will be entitled to a loan of up to £15k over 5 years at a fixed rate of 5% interest.
Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:
“This is a terrific opportunity for quick action and offers another option to reduce the number of empty homes. This is a top priority for the council! We want to work with people across the city to help bring as many long terms empty properties back into use as possible.
“This loan scheme allows people to borrow up to £30,000 which is more than the national loan and allows us to continue to help people across the city bring homes back into use and continue this work through recycling the pot of money and awarding more loans once the first set of loans has been paid back.
“As a council we are very proactive in the work we carry out to bring properties back into use, but until we brought in our own local loan scheme, we were not offering financial assistance to owners, and therefore felt this was an angle that needed exploring.
“We are currently working with social enterprises such as Leeds Empties to continue to spread the word about the benefits of bringing properties back into use and are also working closely with social landlords on specific schemes aimed at empty properties.”
For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450