Thanet District Council will be the first council in Kent to provide loans for home-owners looking to renovate and then move into former empty properties.
Secured loans of up to £20,000 will be available for anyone who purchases, renovates and then moves into properties which have stood empty for a period of six months or more.
The scheme, administered with Kent County Council’s ‘No Use Empty’ initiative, will operate across the wards of the Housing Intervention area covering Cliftonville West and Margate Central.
It is funded using £150k of a wider £4.2 million pot of cluster funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government, set aside for delivering the ‘Live Margate’ Housing Intervention Programme.
The loans need to be paid back over a five to ten year period and require the successful applicants to live within the newly renovated property for a minimum period of five years.
Information on how to apply for a loan and the terms of the scheme are available at www.nue.org.uk.
Deputy Leader of the council and Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Lin Fairbrass, said: “We’re proud to launch this scheme which is a first for Kent. Providing home-owners with the financial means to restore these empty buildings back to their former glory is a great way of breathing new life into the area. It is also a key part of the council’s commitment to the wider regeneration of the district.”
Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Kent County Council, said: “Thanet is changing rapidly and becoming a vibrant and creative area where a younger demographic want to live and to work. A lot of our efforts to return empty homes through the No Use Empty initiative have been concentrated in Thanet. By providing loans to owner occupiers to aid refurbishment works, we not only create new homes to help meet rising demand, but we also help accelerate the regeneration process, as empty homes can blight an area, attract crime, and deter investment.”