Loan scheme aims to revive empty county homes

EMPTY homes in Northumberland could be brought back into use in a new loan scheme.

Northumberland County Council has teamed up with charity Empty Homes and central government to provide loans of up to £15,000 to owners of empty properties to help bring them back into affordable use.

There are currently more than 2,000 homes standing empty in the county and it is hoped that the new scheme will help to stop the decline.

The National Empty Homes Loan Fund (NEHLF), which is supported by a £3million grant from the Government, will give access to secured loans at a fixed five per cent interest rate to enable cash-strapped owners to renovate their properties.

Support is available to individuals aged 18 and over who own a property that has been empty for at least six months.

Work has already begun on one home in Northumberland as part of the scheme.

Council Policy Board Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning Allan Hepple said: “Housing services often work with outside agencies to secure additional help for property owners. In this case, the private sector team has been able to find some extra financial support to help owners bring some of the empty properties in Northumberland back to habitable standard.

“In many cases the properties remain empty because owners simply do not have the funds to get the required work done.”

For further information, or to apply for a loan, contact Victoria Ledger on 01670 623053. Normal identification checks and affordability criteria will apply. Properties are required to meet council standards.