Project aims to bring empty homes back to life in Angus

Empty homes officer Sean Maxwell at one of the properties being transformed
Empty homes officer Sean Maxwell at one of the properties being transformed

Angus Council and the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership are aiming to encourage owners of long-term empty properties to transform them into homes that people would want to live in.

There are an estimated 34,000 long term empty properties in Scotland, around 1000 of which are located in Angus where demand is high for affordable housing.

In an effort to tackle this, a £120,000 Empty Homes Loan Fund is being launched to help empty homes owners bring unoccupied properties back into residential use.

Those with an empty property that has lain empty for at least six months could benefit from the fund.

The fund offers low interest loans to help make necessary improvements to bring properties up to standard and fit for occupation and picks up from a successful scheme made possible by a £120,000 Scottish Government allocation.

Seven previously unoccupied properties have been made fit to live in and then let at an affordable rate.

Empty homes officer Sean Maxwell said: “This loan fund can be described as a cost-effective measure to increase affordable housing in the private sector and has helped to contribute to the improvement of Angus as a whole through increased housing supply and community regeneration.”

Shelter Scotland director, Graeme Brown, said: “Renovating empty properties has a role to play in easing Scotland’s housing shortage and we welcome this move by Angus Council to offer loans to people who otherwise couldn’t afford to renovate an empty home.

“Through our work running the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership we know that there are a significant number of people who are overwhelmed by the task of bringing an empty property they own back into use. Proactive work by local councils like Angus can make the difference between a property sitting empty for years, perhaps causing problems for neighbours, and it being transformed into a much needed family home.”

A local property owner who is making best use of the Angus Council empty homes loan fund and returning an unoccupied property to use, said: “Throughout the project, the Empty Homes Officer and Angus Council personnel have listened to my needs and helped to guide me through every step of the Empty Homes Loan Fund. I cannot thank them enough.

“Prior to the renovation works being undertaken through the empty homes loan fund my property was experiencing water issues and required modernisation to make it habitable. The renovations will hopefully be complete in either February or March and I am excited to see the finished outcome.”

The property will then be let at an affordable rate for a minimum of 5 years.

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