Up to £175,000 offered to homeowners wanting to rent or sell in Hertsmere
PUBLISHED: 17:20 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 26 September 2019
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Up to £175,000 is being offered to owners who are thinking of renting or selling their homes in Hertsmere.
Hertsmere Borough Council has sent letters to vacant properties across the borough, coinciding with the start of National Empty Homes week on Monday, about its empty homes scheme.
The loan, aimed at remodelling flats and houses for rent or sale, is provided per unit. So for a large house converted into eight self-contained flats, a maximum loan of £175,000 is offered, two flats could get £50,000 and a two-bedroom family house would be eligible for a loan of up to £25,000.
Homeowners would need to repay the loan immediately on sale of the property, or within two years of the loan agreement, and in the case of renting within five years.
Cllr Jean Heywood, who represents Potters Bar Oakmere and is housing and transport portfolio holder at Hertsmere Borough Council, said: "We are determined to ensure our housing supply works to support the needs of all our residents.
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"One of the ways we can do this is by offering financial incentives to home owners with empty properties. Interest-free loans of up to £25,000 are on offer."
Vacant properties have been a problem in Hertsmere for some time with 400 properties, according to March 2019 figures, lying vacant, mainly due to beneficiaries awaiting a probate decision.
Compulsory purchase orders, granted under Section 226(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, are one way the council are looking at dealing with the problem.
"We can also use enforcement to help turnaround these properties and prevent them from sitting around empty," Cllr Heywood said.
"Creating homes from empty properties makes environmental sense too, by ensuring we utilise existing buildings and minimise the amount of land used for development."
The loans offered are subject to the home being in a poor condition, and iy needs to have been empty or unoccupied for at least the last six months.