The District Council in Eden is offering interest-free loans to people with an empty flat or house so that they can be rented out or sold. The loans can have a value of up to £15,000 and will have to be paid back over the next three years. The idea behind the loan scheme is that people will be able to refurbish the homes so that they can rent them out or sell them.
There are currently similar grants available for people who want to refurbish their homes but these come with the condition that they must be sold, or let, to a certain sector. These loans come with no such obligation and so will be appealing to some homeowners.
Lesley Grisedale, a councillor in the area has said, “Eden is very much in need of new houses and particularly those that are affordable. An empty house is a waste of valuable resources and we are hoping that the new scheme will help solve this problem. There are many homes that are empty in the area and with a little help these can be reoccupied.”
Over the past seven years the number of empty homes in the area has increased significantly and many of them have not been redeveloped because doing this is too expensive or there are various legal complications with the renovation. For other people there is the simple the problem that people are not so interested in bringing their homes back into use, despite seeing the asset decline in value and despite having to pay council tax every year.
Recent figures show that if a three-bedroom house were rented in the area it would bring in around £7000 for the landlord every year. The council are also concerned that empty homes are an eye sore on the area.