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Powys - Innovative in attacking empty homes

Local needs affordable housing in rural communities Wales - Rural Housing Enabler - Powys empty homes

Rural housing enablers (RHEs) in Powys are working with Powys County Council and housing associations to address the problem of empty homes. Powys has around 1500 long term empty properties. RHEs approach owners in partnership with Powys Private Sector Housing and housing associations, to look at ways of helping owners bring empty properties back into use.

Powys empty homes strategy contains several new and innovative ways of approaching the problem of empty homes. 

The Council was first to introduce a successful and award winning “Landlord Loan” scheme. Property owners may receive up to 50% refurbishment costs in the form of an interest free loan. This is repaid in five annual instalments, 12 months after completion of works. The “Houses into Homes” scheme introduced by the Welsh Housing Minister to tackle empty properties is a new and welcome addition. 

Powys is currently piloting an empty property model where in partnership with housing associations, the full refurbishment cost is provided in exchange for a long term lease. The social landlord obtains a minimum ten year lease and guarantees to provide the property an affordable rent throughout this period. 

Rural housing enablers are currently working with communities to identify potential projects. This increases the chance of success, as locals often know the background as to why properties are empty. Quite often the owner is found to live nearby. 

The success of the strategy is quite clear. Last year around 40 properties were brought back into use. However, several projects were deferred to the following financial year due to numbers of properties outstripping available finance. 

For Powys empty homes strategy, please click here.