A TOTAL of 900 empty homes have been brought back into use in Cheshire West and Chester.

The council is now offering financial support and advice to other empty homeowners interested in revitalising their properties.

There are about 250,000 long-term empty homes across the UK, with about 2,100 of these being in Cheshire West and Chester.

As the nation marks Empty Homes Week (February 15-21), the national campaign run by the charity Empty Homes to highlight how the nation’s empty homes are a wasted resource, the council is offering grants for landlords to transform their empty homes.

Councillor Matt Bryan, cabinet member for housing, planning and climate emergency, said: “This is a fantastic achievement as every long-term empty home in the borough is a wasted resource, so it is great to know that our approach of working closely with empty homeowners is working and our five year target has been achieved ahead of schedule.

“With over 8,000 people on our housing register and with demand continuing to outstrip supply this isn`t the time to rest on our laurels though.

"The council is keen to continue to work with empty homeowners and help them bring their home back into use and can offer advice as well as financial assistance.”

The financial assistance available is in the form of empty home and conversion grants which can help owners and private landlords with the cost of refurbishing empty homes and converting obsolete commercial premises. Grants of up to £2,000 are available, going up to £15,000 for those individuals willing to accept tenants nominated by the council.

To qualify, empty homes must have been empty for 18 months and be in council tax bands A, B, C or D. Commercial premises need to have been empty for 12 months.

In addition to financial assistance, the council can also provide landlords with a range of support services such as: a tenant finding service, tenancy support as well as a council-backed Bond to help cover a tenant`s deposit.

Councillor Bryan, added: “The council`s empty homes grants are there to assist those individuals who are just as keen as we are in transforming former empty and dilapidated properties to provide housing for people on our housing register.”

For more information visit: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/housing/empty-homes/empty-homes.aspx or you can email emptyhomes@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or call 0300 123 8037.