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You are here: Home > News > Press Releases > 2012 Press Releases > August

Turning empty houses into homes

Gwynedd Council is working with the Welsh Government on a determined drive to turn empty houses into homes for local people.

Owners of empty properties are being offered the opportunity to seek funding to help renovate and transform their houses under a new £2.35 million scheme.

The Welsh Government Houses into Homes scheme provides interest free loans over a three-year period to enable the renovation, improvement and conversion of empty properties for use as residential accommodation.

Eligible properties must have been empty for six months or more. Single dwellings are eligible for a loan of up to £25,000, with a maximum loan of £150,000 available per applicant.

The Welsh Government has identified around 26,000 long-term empty properties across Wales, which represent a wasted resource, depriving people of much needed homes.

Gwynedd Council are working closely with nearly a thousand owners of empty properties to assist in bringing them back into use.

The Council can offer Vacant Homes Grants to owners of empty properties to assist with up to 75% of the renovation costs up to a maximum of £10,000 subject to the applicants agreeing to specific conditions relating to future occupancy of the properties. These grants have proved successful and a number of properties have been bought back into use.

There is also a Repair and Renovations Loans Scheme, which offers owners of empty properties a loan to assist with the costs of renovation and refurbishment. The loan is rated at 4% above the Bank of England base rate and offers up to £15,000 per unit of accommodation up to a maximum of £150,000 per applicant.

The Council can also help reduce or eliminate the VAT payable on all materials used to bring a vacant property back into use. Properties that have been empty between 2 and 10 years can have the VAT on materials used reduced to 5% and those empty for 10 years or more can have the VAT reduced to NIL.

First Time Buyer Mortgage Deposit Loan Scheme

Another scheme launched by Gwynedd Council offers loans to local first time buyers to meet the deposit requirements for a mortgage. The aim is to help local first time buyers to buy vacant properties and enter the local housing market.

Applicants can apply for a 20% deposit loan to purchase properties up to the value of £150,000. Every applicant must prove their local connection to Gwynedd by proving they have lived or worked in Gwynedd for a continuous period of 5 years before making the application.

Applicants must provide 5% of the purchasing costs from their own savings as well as demonstrating their ability to sustain a full mortgage by providing proof of a mortgage offer. Once successful, applicants will be given three months to find a vacant property in their desired area; assistance can be given by the Empty Properties Team.

Anyone wishing to be considered should register their interest at or contact the Empty Homes Team using the details provided below.

Councillor John Wyn Williams, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for housing, said:

“Providing good quality, affordable homes for people is a priority for Gwynedd Council and we have been exploring a number of ways to help us meet the growing demand. We hope that these schemes will encourage landlords, home owners and developers to come forward and turn empty properties into residential accommodation.”

For more information about the above schemes, please contact Carwyn Lloyd Roberts or Elliw Güner, Empty Properties Team, Gwynedd Council on 01341 424 371 or e-mail:


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Last updated: 21/08/2012
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