North Kesteven District Council leaders are set to approve a 15-month pilot project which could see the authority work with E.ON Energy bring 30 empty properties back into use.
The council’s executive will be asked to give the go ahead to the plans, which will see the authority enter into a contract with the energy company – paying £2,000 plus VAT for every property returned to use.
They will also be asked to put aside £60,000 from its reserves in order to meet costs if the target of 30 is achieved.
Under the scheme, E.ON will help owners of empty properties establish what is needed and provide financial advice and budgeting.
Those who agree to be part of the scheme will be able to access extra funding unavailable to most local authorities as well as gain assistance with insulation, new boilers and other appliances to improve energy efficiency, say officers.
North Kesteven District has around 450 long-term empty properties, with 125 empty for more than two years.
It is currently meeting a 20 property a year target, however, it says limited financial and enforcement powers are making it increasingly difficult.
Recommending approval, officers say: “With the lack of financial assistance through either grants or loans the project is unable to assist those owners who need this type of help when they find they have inherited or acquired a poor condition empty property.
“The scheme that E.ON is proposing would allow the council the option to use this as both assistance for owners who need financial assistance as well as those who want to return the property to use but do not understand or have the experience to do so.”
To be defined as being returned to use, NKDC’s Council Tax revenue team must list the property as “occupied” otherwise no fee will be due to E.ON.
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