The Welsh Government started the House into Homes Scheme in April 2012 to help get houses back on the property market. There are about 22,000 empty properties in Wales, not because of a lack of demand, but becauseof the derelict state of some and the unattractiveness of others.
As part of this Scheme, the Cardiff City Council has just been awarded over £1 million (£1,038,416 to be precise) to help give interest-free loans toowners of run-down and empty properties, with the help of the United Welsh Housing Association whichwill provide advice to landlords who need it.
Accommodation is a very important issue on the Cardiff City Council and the Welsh Assembly agendas, as proven by the setting up of a Mortgage Scheme to help people access home ownership in 2013 and the Local Development Plan which is still out for consultation as we speak.
Over 1,400 homes are believed to be empty in Cardiff, while almost 10,000 families are on the Council’s housing waiting list.
An empty home is a blight for everyone:
- it is costly for the landlords who cannot market their property so are losing money;
- it makes whole neighbourhoods unattractive and therefore brings down the value of the neighbouring houses;
- it doesn’t help tenants find a place to rent.
Most empty houses need some work done to be fit for renting or selling, which landlords cannot do because of the difficulty to obtain a loan in the current financial climate. The House into Homes Scheme will therefore provide interest-free loans to landlords for a maximum of £25,000 per propertyand up to £250,000 per landlord. The money will be used for any work on the property from painting the inside or outside of the house to getting a new kitchen.
The time given to repay the loan will vary between 2 and 3 years depending on whether the landlords want to sell the house or to rent it.