The Welsh Government’s Empty Homes Grant scheme is not only bringing abandoned properties back into use, it is also providing much-needed work for local businesses, say council officials.

The scheme aims to bring homes back into use by providing owners of long-term empty properties with grants of up to a maximum of £20,000, plus a possible further £5,000 for renewable energy measures.

To qualify for payments, properties must have been unoccupied for at least six months, with the prospective or owner occupiers planning to use them as their main home for at least five years.

The initial pilot has taken place under the auspices of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, which points out that the funding has not only helped to remove numerous hotspots for anti-social behaviour but has also enabled many first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Phase 1 of the scheme ran between September 2019 and March 2020. During that time Rhondda Cynon Taf Council received 173 applications while grant funding amounted to £2.4m. Phase 2 of the scheme began in July 2020 and is scheduled to continue until March 2021.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, told Wales 24/7: “Empty homes are a blight on communities and are a wasted resource.”

He added the scheme was also bringing associated benefits to the regional economy, with local contractors undertaking the work and materials being sourced from local suppliers.

Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s cabinet member for Enterprise Development and Housing, added: “Empty homes are often a burden to property owners, the community that lives with them and the council – they are also a missed opportunity to provide much needed affordable housing for local people, which we know there is a huge demand for.”

Fraser and Fraser remains fully operational and is here to deal with any queries that local authority empty homes officers may have during this exceptional time. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with business development manager Nick Beetham. We are able to offer all our services remotely and we have secure video conferencing facilities.