Empty home? Take out a loan

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More money will be lent to help people renovate empty properties in Rugby if a new scheme is approved next week.

Town hall officials believe empty houses can cause problems for neighbourhoods, often attracting vandalism and antisocial behaviour. The borough council has been offering loans of up to £5,000 to landlords since 2010.

But despite a number of initial enquiries, no-one has applied for the money.

In a report to the council’s cabinet, housing and community development team leader Michelle Dickson lays the blame on the amount offered. She states: “Evidence from consultation with owners of empty homes has highlighted that the loans have been unsuccessful because the cap on the individual loan set at £5,000 was too low.”

Officials are recommending that the loans should instead be of sums up to £10,000 and that the conditions attached to the loans should be made more attractive.

A total of 88 empty properties in Rugby were brought back into use last years.

In 25 of those cases, the borough council had intervened through measures including phone calls, letters and discussions with owners.

The council’s cabinet will discuss the matter at its meeting at the town hall on Monday at 5.30pm.

The meeting is open to the public.