£50m to bring empty homes back to life
Minister Julie James has today (Monday, January 30) announced a new £50m scheme to bring more empty homes back to life.
The National Empty Homes Grant scheme, that will run over the next two years, has been developed to build on the success of previous Welsh Government initiatives like the Valleys Taskforce Empty Homes Grant.
The National Empty Homes Scheme could see up to 2,000 long-term empty properties brought back into use. This scheme will run alongside with other Welsh Government schemes like Leasing Scheme Wales which is designed to improve access to longer term affordable housing in the private rental sector.
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “I am pleased to announce the allocation of £50m that will be used to bring more empty properties in Wales back into use.
“The latest statistics show there are more than 22,000 long-term empty properties in Wales. These are a wasted housing resource that can become a blight on our communities.
“The funding announced today will be used to reduce the number of empty properties and, therefore, increase housing supply. “
A grant of up to £25,000 will be available for home owners or prospective home owners to remove significant hazards from their properties to make them safe to live in and to improve their energy efficiency.
In order to qualify for the grant, the property must have been registered as empty with the local authority for a minimum of 12 months prior to commencement of the works.
Once the works have been completed, the successful applicant must then live in that property as their main and only residence for a minimum of five years.
Aside from owner occupiers, Registered Social Landlords, local authorities and community housing groups will also be able to access the funding for empty properties they are acquiring to bring back into use as affordable housing.
The scheme has been developed with the local authorities and will be administered by Rhondda Cynon Taff Council on behalf of the Welsh Government.
Each participating local authority will have an allocation each year and will be responsible for undertaking surveys of the properties to identify and recommend the qualifying works for grant funding.
A list of the participating local authorities can be found here: https://www.gov.wales/apply-empty-homes-grant More local authorities will be added to the list once ready to accept applications.
Notes to editors
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Launched in January 2022, Leasing Scheme Wales (LSW) is designed to improve access to longer term affordable housing in the private rental sector. Delivering security for tenants and confidence for property owners. Property owners are encouraged to lease their properties to local authorities in return for a rent guarantee of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate. Voids are covered during the period of the lease. Repairs of any damage to the property made by tenants are covered, subject to reasonable wear and tear, and the landlord’s liability for structural defects. Additional funding of up to £5,000 is available to meet the standards necessary and for empty properties this funding could extend to a maximum of £25,000.
- LSW has recently partnered with the Optimised Retrofit Programme to provide additional grants of up to £5,000 per property
- More information on Leasing Scheme Wales can be found Leasing Scheme Wales: guidance | GOV.WALESAs of January 2023 reporting, 42 properties have been brought onto the scheme , 28 (67%) of which were previously empty for six months or more. An additional 35 properties are tenanted through the Leasing Scheme Wales pathfinder scheme, providing a total of 77 properties. Currently, fifteen local authorities have signed up to offering the scheme.