As the nation gets set to mark Empty Homes Week (February 15-21), Labour-run Ipswich Borough Council is offering grants for owners to transform their empty homes.
Landlords, owners, and first-time buyers of empty properties could be eligible for renovation grants to bring properties that have been empty for more than a year back in to use.
Grants of up to £10,000 are available for landlords and owners looking to be landlords, while first-time buyers can get up to £20,000.
The funding can be used for essential works that keep the property safe and secure, such as installing a central heating system, electrical rewire and remedying issues that are likely to cause injury or ill-health.
In addition to financial assistance, the council also has an agreement with local estate agents and auctioneers who will charge an owner reduced fees when selling a long-term empty property. They can also provide landlords with a range of support services including a tenant finding service and a council-backed Bond scheme to help cover a tenant’s deposit.
Councillor Alasdair Ross, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection, said: “Long-term empty homes are a wasted resource that increases crime and anti-social behavior in our communities. We are determined to get more back in to use by working with owners to find out why homes are empty and offering advice and support, as well as financial assistance.
“The council’s empty homes grants are there to help individuals who are just as keen as we are in transforming former empty properties. But residents can play their part too, by telling us if they know of a long-term empty property.”
Councillor Neil MacDonald, Portfolio Holder for Housing & Health, said: “The support we can offer doesn’t stop when the funding is granted and essential works have been carried out. Our expert lettings experience team – Ipswich LET – is able to provide landlords with a package of free support to help them find and secure suitable tenants, including rent guarantee and deposit bond schemes.
“By working with us, landlords are not just securing rental income, they are providing local people with quality homes and supporting our ambitions to tackle homelessness in Ipswich.”
If you want to report a long-term empty home, complete our online form at www.ipswich.gov.uk/report-empty-property