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Wales pledges £50m to bring derelict empty homes back into use | Housing

The Welsh Government is fighting the ‘decay’ of abandoned homes in villages, towns and cities across the country by putting £50m into a vacant home programme.

Up to 2,000 long-vacant properties could be returned to use, thanks in part to a move to help young people return to the places they grew up.

A grant of up to £25,000 will be made available to homeowners or potential homeowners to eliminate significant hazards on their property to make it safe to live in and improve their energy efficiency.

After the work is completed, the applicant must live in this property as their primary and only residence for a minimum of five years or transfer it for use by a social tenant.

The Labor-controlled government estimates that there are more than 22,000 long-term vacant properties in Wales.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This is a wasted resource of housing that could be a disaster for our communities.”

Schemes have already been launched in Anglesey and Gwynedd, in North Wales, places where locals are often forced to leave as prices rise due to the spread of second homes, which threatens the vitality of communities and the Welsh language. A project was also implemented to return to operation empty houses in the valleys of South Wales.

James said: “It is very important to return empty houses to use. This is an obvious waste considering we have real housing issues across Wales. But they also spoil the streets and villages.

“We know the whole street, the whole village, we are very grateful when the house is returned to use. This allows young people or young couples to return to the places where they grew up. Often these houses were owned by relatives, but bringing them up to living standards was beyond their ability, and it might not have been possible to raise the money for the house because the mortgage companies wouldn’t do waterproofing courses or anything like that. These grants are designed to return the house to beneficial use.”

To qualify for the two-year National Vacant Home Subsidy Scheme, properties must be registered as vacant by the local authorities for a minimum of 12 months.

Registered social landlords, local governments and community housing groups will also be able to access funding for vacant properties they purchase to reuse as affordable housing.

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