In response to the letter from Mr Watson (Littlehampton Gazette, Thursday, April 28) I wanted to apologise for any delay in replying to his letter and take the opportunity to clarify the position regarding empty homes and what the council is doing to deal with the matter.
There are at present approximately 500 unoccupied properties within the Arun district, and this does not include properties being used as personal second/holiday homes or those used on a commercial basis for self-catering holidays.
As your readers will appreciate, there is a high demand for rental properties in our area, and in order to alleviate the situation, Arun District Council jointly with Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council have been successfully working in partnership with a letting agency to promote their guaranteed rental scheme.
This scheme allows the council to provide assistance for owners of properties which have been unoccupied for more than two years. This can be in the form of a grant up to a maximum of £5,000, or an interest free loan up to £10,000 which is repaid on a monthly basis over an agreed term. The grants and loans are registered with Land Registry and are payable when the property is sold or if there is a change of tenure within the year period.
In order to qualify for either the £5,000 grant or £10,000 loan, the following conditions must be met:
• The property has to be referred to the guaranteed rental scheme with Norwood Letting Agency.
• The property must meet the decent homes standard.
• The council will have nomination rights for a five year period. This enables the council to nominate a homeless person or family for the tenancy.
• The property owner will be required to join the Arun and Chichester Landlord Accreditation Scheme and meet and maintain the accreditation standards.
Cllr Roger Elkins
Cabinet Member for Housing
Arun District Council
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