A long term empty property in Plymouth that was trashed by former tenants has been brought back into use with help from Plymouth City Council.
Brian and Vivien Packer were contacted by the Council as part of its ongoing work to bring more than 700 empty homes in the city back into use. Mr and Mrs Packer had become disillusioned after their previous tenants vandalised the property, smashing windows and doors, ripping up the carpets and even pulling a radiator off the wall. Mr and Mrs Packer applied for an interest free loan under the Council’s new Financial Assistance Scheme for help to renovate the property which enables owners to apply for an interest free loan of up to £50,000.
The Council launched the #EmptyHomesPlym campaign in October to promote the schemes available to help owners bring their properties back into use.
Brian said: “We’ve owned the property for seven years but the last lot of tenants completely trashed it.
“It’s been empty for four years. Because of the state of it we couldn’t bring ourselves to look at it or do anything about it, until the Council got in touch with us to say there was a new empty home loan scheme available where they’d loan us the money for the renovation and help find builders to sort everything out for us.
“The whole scheme is an excellent idea and we encourage other people to get involved. We had full support from the council, which was perfect for us as we didn’t even have to look at it or think about it – they took care of everything.
“We were very pleased with the support from the council, who had several quotes from different builders and we went with the most competitive. They were involved with all the repairs, I did the carpets.”
The work was carried out by Oakley Builders Ltd and the property will be let out via the Council’s EasyLet scheme at an affordable rent level to a local family just in time for Christmas.
Vivien said: “The application process was easy and we were given a lot of advice from the council and help from Scott. The renovation itself was quick too, only seven or eight weeks. I really wish we had done this sooner.”
Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery for Plymouth City Council, said: “I am delighted that Mr and Mrs Packer have managed to bring this property back into use with help from us.
“Empty homes are a wasted resource and collectively empty home owners in the city are losing up to £5.4 million every year in rent. They could be costing neighbouring properties £12.5 million in lost property value.”
You can find out more information about the Empty Homes Financial Assistance Policy on the Council’s website at www.plymouth.gov.uk/emptyhomes