District council attempts to fill empty properties with ‘incentive’ grant of up to £5,000

SKDC news.
SKDC news.
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Landlords and house owners can claim up to £5,000 from the district council to re-let empty homes.

South Kesteven District Council is helping landlords and owners with an incentive grant of up to £5,000 to help them re-let their properties.

Hundreds of addresses in the district have been identified as long-term unoccupied at a time when there is increasing housing demand nationally and locally.

In support of the government’s initiative to tackle the shortfall, owners with properties registered as empty are being encouraged to get them back into use.

The authority says it is aware that some properties will require a considerable amount of work in order to develop them into a habitable condition. Properties that are empty and unfurnished will pay nothing towards council tax for the first month that they are empty.

For the next five months they pay 75 per cent of the charge and for the following 18 months 100 per cent. After two years the amount goes up to 150 per cent.

If the property is undergoing major structural repair the charge is 75 per cent for the first 12 months followed by 100 per cent over the next year. After two years it rises to 150 per cent.

Landlord Philip Lee, from Grantham, is now using the grant to help restore several properties. He said: “The generous grant has been of great assistance in enabling me to bring empty properties back into use and provide good quality, affordable housing. It is a very straight forward process to apply for.

“I’d encourage any home owner or landlord to consider the grant to get a property into habitable condition, whatever your plans for its future.”

SKDC’s Business Manager for Environmental Health Anne Marie Coulthard, said: “It can be challenging for some owners who own homes that have not been maintained over a number of years to bring them back into habitable condition. Therefore the Empty Homes grant is a channel to assist this to help improve the condition and value of the property and in some cases allows landlords to let the property to generate an income.”

To qualify for the scheme, the property must have been empty for a minimum of six months and owners must agree to charge rent that does not exceed Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for a minimum period of three years.

The property must be brought back into use within 12 months of work starting and the grant does not cover fees, drainage, works already completed or repairs to outbuildings.

For further information about the grant visit www.southkesteven.gov.uk