Angus Council, which covers Forfar and the surrounding areas in Scotland, has launched a new £100,000 empty homes campaign, designed at bringing long-term unoccupied properties back into residential use.
Across Scotland, there is an estimated 47,000 long-term empty properties. Some 1,200 of these are located within the boundaries of Angus Council, who have seen a high demand for affordable housing among their constituents.
Communities Convener for the local authority, Cllr Mark Salmond, said: “We are determined to increase the supply and availability of affordable housing for individual people and families in Angus.
“Building affordable homes that people are proud to call home is one way we can and do achieve this.
“But we must not ignore the 1,200 or so empty properties that, with our support, can provide vital housing for those in need of a home.
“An empty home can have a negative impact on a neighbourhood and so this is money well spent - not just in support of people and families, but for our communities too. By reducing the number of empty homes in Angus, we make our communities better, more attractive and vibrant places to live.”
Set to come into effect on February 1, 2021, owners of an empty property which has lain unoccupied for at least six months could apply for support from the fund.
Grants will be awarded on a discretionary basis for property types where the council considers there is a demonstrable demand for housing, subject to availability. Grant subsidy is capped at a maximum of £7,500 per bedroom and is directed at necessary improvements to bring potential properties up to a standard fit for occupation.
On completion of the funded project, successful applicants to the campaign must then rent out the property as affordable housing for a minimum period of five years.
By receiving the grant, owners of these properties are also committing to renting to a person who is working with the housing service to explore their housing options.
Shaheena Din, National Project Manager at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, added: “We are delighted that Angus Council is launching an empty homes grant fund.
“The reasons that homes lie empty for long periods are often complex, for example owners who inherit properties without the means to renovate them to letting standard.
“This initiative will provide access to much-needed funds to bring properties back to habitable standards, meaning more available housing in Angus and the benefits to local communities and economy that result from the transformation of empty homes.”