16 April 2012>
Caerphilly county borough council has welcomed a £5 million national loan scheme launched by the Welsh Government in February, aimed at returning privately owned empty dwellings to beneficial use.
The scheme commenced on 1st April 2012 and will be delivered regionally. Caerphilly will therefore be working in partnership with Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Newport and Monmouthshire councils to offer interest free loans to owners of long term empty properties in order to bring them back into use as either rental accommodation or via improvement for sale.
Caerphilly is currently the only local authority in Gwent which already offers potential landlords of empty dwellings 50% grant aid, up to a maximum grant of £15,000, in order to make these properties into acceptable living accommodation.
The Welsh Government's initiative has prompted plans to continue with the current grant aid already offered to potential landlords of empty properties in the borough, providing the landlord agrees to let their property at or below the Local Housing Allowance limit.
The alteration to the grant allowance will increase levels of affordable housing for financially struggling families and individuals, while the national loan scheme will offer up to £25,000 to landlords to improve empty properties so that they are ready for sale or rental at market value.
Shaun Couzens, Head of Housing Services, commented, "The introduction of the Welsh Government loan scheme provides us with the opportunity to alter our current grant aid, so that it is restricted to landlords who agree to let their properties to households who require affordable housing. We hope that the two initiatives will work together to continue the success we have already achieved in bringing empty properties back into use in the borough."
The National Loan Scheme will afford all local authorities within Gwent shared access to a loan fund of approximately £880,000 during the early years of the scheme.
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