National Empty Home Loan Fund.

by Mark Johnston

National Empty Home Loan Fund.

Figures show that there are an estimated 870,000 empty homes in the UK and this would potentially be enough empty commercial property to create 420,000 new homes.

Therefore it seems that one in twenty properties in the country is empty.

money houseAn empty home is defined as a property, which has remained vacant for more than at least six months.

Many recent surveys has revealed that the average cost of renovating an empty home is about £10,000.

A  National Empty Home Loan Fund (NEHLF) has been announced, it has been funded by a grant of £3 million from central government and is being administered by the Ecology building society, a specialist mortgage lender that supports sustainable communities.

This fund is a joint initiative between the charity Empty Homes, Ecology building society, central government and also over 45 participating local authorities.

The scheme hopes to bring around 710,000 empty homes in England back in to affordable use.

The new fund offers secured loans of up to £15,000 which are charged at 5 per cent to owners of empty properties to enable them to renovate those homes and then rent them out as affordable housing.

Loans are typically over a 5 year period and are paid on completion of the loan application and not on the work.

Individuals must be over 18 and they can either apply for the loan through their participating local authority or directly through the Ecology building society.

However, if a home owner does apply directly with the building society then there are administration and valuation fees applicable, otherwise there are no fees.

The estimated timescale for the completion of the main works will be jointly agreed and identified in the specific individual loan contract.

Who actually undertakes the work is entirely up to the property owners but the work must be up to the governments Decent Homes standard. This means the home must be in good repair, has reasonably modern facilities and is warm and weatherproof.

The National Empty Homes Loan Fund (NEHLF) was launched just a month ago and it has received six months expected activity in four weeks.

Data has revealed that the scheme has already received enquiries for funding worth over an estimated £1 million.

Paul Ellis, chief executive of the Ecology building society has said “I am thrilled, but not surprised that there has been so much interest in the scheme. At a time when there is increasing demand for homes but an acute lack of supply it makes total sense to bring new life to existing but neglected properties”.

David Ireland, chief executive of the charity Empty Homes, adds “the response to the launch of the fund has been amazing and we hope the fund will enable hundreds of empty homes to be brought back up to standard and back in to the housing stock”.

In conclusion it seems that these new figures clearly show that there is a real demand for this type of funding to help get empty homes back in to use!





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