�50,000 government grants for empty home repairs

EMPTY house owners can get up to �50,000 to pay for refurbishments and renovations courtesy of a government funded grant.

Cash can be given directly to property owners under the PLACE scheme which was set up to spark the reoccupation of over 700 empty Uttlesford properties.

Uttlesford District Council’s empty homes officer Will Cockerell said: “If you have an empty property in need of renovation, this is an excellent way to get the work done at no or little cost to yourself.

“By taking part in the scheme you’re also helping people who are in need of social housing, and with regular inspections from the council or registered social landlord, you can be sure your property will be well looked-after during the three-year lease too.”

Bringing a property that has stood empty for a considerable time back to a habitable condition can be a demanding and daunting task.

But the PLACE scheme can help this process by organising the property’s complete renovation, bringing it up to the much-heralded Decent Homes Standard and handing it back in a liveable condition.

PLACE will provide up to �50,000 to pay for the property’s repair and refurbishment, which will be managed by a registered social landlord (RSL).

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In return for the renovation, once the work is complete the owner of the property will be required to then lease it to the RSL for three years, so it can be used to provide social housing for families or individuals in need of a home in Uttlesford.

Once the three years are up the property will be returned to the owner, vacant, renovated and in good decorative order. There is no obligation to continue letting.

Properties can be purchased by local authorities with or without permission if it has stood empty for six months or more.

But the PLACE scheme is seen by Uttlesford District Council as a constructive alternative to bring properties back into habitable condition while assisting people in the district in need of housing.

For more information contact Will Cockerell on 01799 510581 or email wcockerell@uttlesford.gov.uk.