Barnet brings in empty homes scheme

Owners of empty homes in Barnet can now apply for financial help to bring their property back into use in return for making it available to Barnet Homes tenants.

The scheme allows owners to apply for up to £25,000 to help cover the cost of renovations if the property they own has remained empty for at least six months and has fallen into disrepair.

In return for the assistance the refurbished properties must then be made available for housing Barnet Homes tenants for at least three years. During this time the owner of the property will receive a guaranteed rental income.

Currently just over 2,000 residential properties in Barnet have been empty for more than six months.

The council has a team dedicated solely to bringing properties back into residential use. It uses a combination of advice, enforcement action and financial assistance to get empty homes across the borough back into use. In 2012/13 the team worked to return 314 properties to residential use.

Landlords who submit their satisfactorily completed applications before 30 September will qualify for an additional £2,500 of financial support.

Councillor Tom Davey, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Unfortunately properties left empty for a considerable amount of time can attract anti-social behaviour and problems such as fly-tipping.

“There is currently a real demand for privately rented properties and I’m delighted that this scheme will potentially free up a number of homes for people in need of housing.”

Derek Rust, Director of Operations for Barnet Homes, said: “Empty run down properties can be blight on any neighbourhood. The chance to not only bring them back into use but to meet Barnet Homes applicants’ housing needs is a real win win solution. We’re delighted to support the council in this initiative.”

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