Private homes in grants boost

A SCHEME which aims to bring thousands of empty homes in Doncaster back into habitation has taken on its first tenants.

David Sands and Katie Beard have been given the keys to a house on Riviera Parade, Bentley, to become the first people to move into one of the properties refurbished through the Empty Homes Grant Scheme.

The house will be managed by St Leger Homes, which looks after Doncaster’s council housing stock.

Landlord Gareth Everton tapped into Doncaster Council’s initiative to give grants to modernise private homes which have been empty for six months or more.

The grant of around £5,000 was used to pay for electrical rewiring, water drainage and some minor repair jobs so the home could be put on the rental market.

Once the improvements are completed the houses involved in the scheme will be advertised for letting by St Leger Homes who act as managing agent for five years in exchange for a weekly fee.

Improvement works of up to £12,000 can be grant funded, and if the works cost more the property owner can pay the additional costs to access the grant.

Mr Everton said: “This initiative is a great idea for the likes of myself. I had tried to sell the house and it has been empty for 18 months. This initiative was a great way forward for me.”

Coun Ray Mullis, Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: ”Bringing empty properties back into use is a top priority for Doncaster Council and I am delighted with this first success of our grants scheme. This is an excellent example of the authority working in partnership with St Leger Homes of Doncaster for the benefit of local people.”

Susan Jordan, chief executive of St Leger Homes, said: “This is a great way of increasing homes for rental in Doncaster. This is also the first home we have rented out for a private landlord, a service we are planning to expand.”

Call 01302 862 031 for scheme details.