Scheme tack­les hous­ing short­age

Over £5m has been in­vested in project

Hamilton Advertiser - - ALL ABOUT LANARKSHIRE - Robert Mitchell

A scheme to tackle the scourge of empty homes is con­tin­u­ing to go from strength to strength.

North La­nark­shire Coun­cil have now brought 88 such prop­er­ties back into use for coun­cil ten­ants to rent in towns and vil­lages across the lo­cal author­ity area.

Over £5 mil­lion has been spent since the scheme started in 2013. It in­volves the coun­cil buy­ing long-term pri­vately owned empty houses and flats, re­fur­bish­ing them and rent­ing them out to ten­ants.

The homes are iden­ti­fied in ar­eas where the coun­cil has a need for ad­di­tional hous­ing or where the pur­chase of a prop­erty will en­able the coun­cil to take com­plete own­er­ship of blocks of flats mak­ing com­mu­nal re­pairs much eas­ier to com­plete.

Ca­tri­ona Ar­buckle, empty homes of­fi­cer with the coun­cil, ex­plained: “The scheme has been a real suc­cess so far and we’ve had some re­ally pos­i­tive feed­back from lo­cal peo­ple, elected mem­bers and our ten­ants.

“There are a num­ber of va­cant pri­vate prop­er­ties which are of­ten in se­ri­ous dis­re­pair which cause con­cerns within our com­mu­ni­ties. Wher­ever pos­si­ble, and if they are in ar­eas of high coun­cil house de­mand, we try to en­gage with own­ers and see if they would be in­ter­ested in the coun­cil buy­ing back their prop­erty.

“With a bud­get of £1 mil­lion per year, the scheme has had some great suc­cesses and can make a real dif­fer­ence to streets and towns across North La­nark­shire. In ad­di­tion, our help and ad­vice to home­own­ers ser­vice has also helped bring a fur­ther 51 prop­er­ties back into use and re­main­ing in pri­vate own­er­ship.”

The prop­er­ties con­sid­ered for buy back must be empty and meet at least one of the spe­cific cri­te­ria: there is an iden­ti­fied need for the type and size of prop­erty; the pur­chase of the prop­erty would give the coun­cil com­plete own­er­ship of a block and al­low ma­jor com­mon works to pro­ceed; or to meet the par­tic­u­lar needs of a house­hold which can­not be met from within the ex­ist­ing coun­cil stock.

Own­ers of empty prop­er­ties in­ter­ested in the scheme should call the Pri­vate Sec­tor Hous­ing team on 01698 274105. More in­for­ma­tion on the Scheme of As­sis­tance for home own­ers and the Empty Homes Pur­chase Scheme is avail­able on the coun­cil web­site.

Homethomas Stan­field and Fiona Kerr with their chil­dren in Bell­shill

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