New loan fund to help bring empty Perth & Kinross buildings back into use
Perth & Kinross Council has this week officially launched its Empty Property Loan Fund - a new interest-free loan designed to help owners of long-term empty buildings to repair or convert them for use as affordable housing.
Funding can be used for any property from a country cottage or a city centre flat to an office or shop, provided that it has been empty for at least six months. The loans are subject to the owner either letting the property at affordable rental levels for a period of five years or selling it at an affordable level, on completion of the works. For individual properties, the loan can range from £5,000 to £15,000. Higher value loans can be considered for larger-scale projects.
The council’s Investment Team has been helping owners of empty properties by providing advice and encouragement as well as signposting both local and national funding and assistance that is available. To date assistance has been given towards bringing over 200 properties back into use across the Perth and Kinross area, and the new fund is already prompting interest from property owners locally.
Councillor John Kellas, convener of the enterprise and infrastructure committee, visited a property in Alyth which is being considered for support through the Fund.
He said: “Empty properties left in poor condition can cause a blight on our rural villages and our town centres alike. This innovative loan fund which has been financed by the Scottish Government, can help to reverse this trend, and provide much needed affordable housing which will help support both rural communities and shops and businesses within our town centres.”
Kristen Hubert, national manager for the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “The launch of the Empty Property Loan Fund in Perth & Kinross is great news. The area already benefits from highly effective council support and this new fund will help bring even more empty property back into use as much needed homes.
“We are under no illusion that bringing empty properties back into use can solve the housing crisis but with waiting lists across Scotland as large as they are there is no excuse for not making every effort to make effective use of the property that already exists.”