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Website URL : http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=55266

Property owners urged to take up interest free loans

PROPERTY owners in Swansea are being offered interest free loans to help get their empty houses ready for living in.

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Swansea Council has written to property owners who have had houses empty for six months or more.

Homeowners are being offered the chance to borrow up to £25,000 interest free which can be spent on repairs on conversion of the property into flats.

Last year, the Council signed up to the Welsh Government-led Houses to Homes initiative which has made £10 million available across Wales. The scheme has now been extended for a further 12 months.

There are more than 1,300 properties in Swansea that have been empty for longer than six months and some have fallen into disrepair. Current rates for renting properties in the city show that property owners could be losing out on thousands of pounds by not making the most of the houses they own.

June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Place, said: "There are more than 1,300 empty properties in the city. All of them have been empty for at least six months and some have been empty for much longer. They can cause a nuisance to residents living near them, especially when they fall in to disrepair.

"Property owners are also losing out on a huge amount of money which they could be collecting in rent if the houses were in a habitable condition.

"I hope this scheme will improve the chances of families finding suitable homes while boosting the appearance of our communities at the same time."

Under the Law of Property Act 1925, the Enforced Sale powers can be used on empty properties where the council has carried out work in default at the property and the owner has failed to pay the Council for this work.

In recent years the council has used these powers to carry out work on a number of properties that have fallen into disrepair.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Houses to Home Scheme should contact the council's Housing Renewals and Adaptations Service on 01792 635330.

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Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea. SA1 3SN. Tel: 01792 636000 Fax: 01792 636340