Empty Homes Assistance
Financial assistance could be available to owners of empty homes to help bring them back into use for the private rental market.
This Fund gives financial assistance to owners of empty homes to help bring them up to Decent Homes Standard and back into use for the rental market.
About the fund
The maximum fund available is £5000 per property with its main focus being centred around owners bringing their empty home back into use and to provide a source of good quality rented accommodation for those in need.
Eligible properties must have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least 6 months prior to the date of the application. The vacant period is to be evidenced by council tax bills showing the relevant exemption.
If an empty property has a potential buyer who wishes to apply for the fund with the intention to let out the property, the council will use discretion in these cases, however exchange of contract must take place within an agreed period.
What the fund could pay for
Capital repair cost to the property, for example:
- A new heating system; where there is no existing heating, the heating is broken, inefficient or inappropriate for the property
- Electrical work where a full rewire or extensive remedial work is required
- Roof repairs or re-roofing
- Replacement windows and doors
- Material costs
- Contractor's labour costs.
Legal and financial advice
Applicants should seek their own legal advice regarding the Local Land Charge which will be placed on the property and their own financial advice regarding the fund.
Legionella and empty properties
Landlords have responsibilities to assess the risk of exposure of their tenants to Legionella and implement appropriate control measures. Most residential properties will be low risk, however, where a property has been empty there may be an increased risk as water may have stagnated in pipework. Click here for more information about Legionella and rented properties.
VAT Relief on Renovating Empty Properties
Bringing empty properties back into use can be costly particularly when extensive renovations are required. In most cases VAT is payable on the costs of renovating or adapting an empty home for re-use (currently @ 20%). But there are several circumstances in which VAT on building works is charged at a reduced rate or even zero-rated. If you are intending to renovate an empty home it is important that you understand them, because it is quite common for builders not to know about different VAT rates. This could lead to you being overcharged, and it can be difficult to reclaim overpaid VAT. Full guidance on VAT on building and construction is available from HMRC Telephone: 0300 200 3300 or go to https://www.gov.uk/vat-builders for further information.
For information on the assessment criteria and conditions of the fund please see application form below.
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