Fresh drive to bring South Ayrshire empty homes back into full time use

88 properties have been transformed thanks to help from South Ayrshire Council’s Empty Homes programme

Owners of unoccupied homes in South Ayrshire are being offered additional help to sell-up to increase the supply of affordable properties to the community.

South Ayrshire Council is making fresh support available for its Empty Homes initiative, which offers a variety of ways to help bring long term empty properties back into use.

The local authority has pledged to build approximately 1,000 new affordable homes in the next five years. The Empty Homes initiative plays a part in bringing long-term empty properties onto the market with 88 brought back into use since 2011, and 470 still available.

Interest free loans of up to £20,000 are available for owners of empty properties to carry out repairs and refurbishments provided properties are rented at affordable rates. Now, new plans have been approved for owners who don’t want to become landlords, which offer interest free home refurbishment loans, which are repaid at the point of sale.

Before and after: 96 St Leonard’s Road in Ayr had fallen into disrepair after the previous owner moved away, with the building empty for more than two years.

Councillor Philip Saxton, South Ayrshire Council’s portfolio holder for housing and customer services, said the new rules would help to free up more housing: “We’re committed to making lives better for people and have pledged to create hundreds of new affordable homes by 2023.

“The areas we’re seeing the highest levels of properties lying empty are in Ayr, Girvan and South Carrick and we’re working hard to bring as many of these back into use as possible.

“By making it easier for owners to bring their properties up to a good standard we will help to increase choice for people looking for homes, making South Ayrshire an attractive place to live and work.”

Owners with concerns about finding the right contractor to carry out work on their property will be encouraged to use South Ayrshire Council’s Trusted Trader Scheme, while those using the council’s Housing Options Service will be given advice on how to engage with owners and landlords in areas where they want to live.

More information on the Empty Homes initiative can be found here.