Where does the funding for the Empty Homes Incentive Grant come from?

In 2012 we secured funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government to reduce the number of properties that were empty for six months or more in four areas of the city. The scheme was extended across the city in 2015.

How many empty homes are there in Newcastle?

There are approximately 1,200 properties in Newcastle which is the lowest rate in Tyne and Wear and similar to the UK average.

Who can apply for an Empty Homes Grant?

Homeowners and landlords can apply for the grant for a property that has been empty for at least six months.

What can I spend the grant on?

The grant must be used to bring the property up to the Newcastle Housing Accreditation Scheme standards.

Who can live in the house when the work is finished?

Once the work is finished you, a family member or a private tenant can live in the property. Funding is not available to renovate the property to sell it on.

Can I get a grant to fix up a spare room to rent out?

No. The whole property must be empty to be eligible for an Empty Homes Grant.

You may be able to get help from a Helping Hands Home Repair loan.  You can find our more at www.careandrepairnewcastle.co.uk

If I get a grant will the Council carry out the work?

No. If you application is successful you will need to find your own contractor to carry out the works.

Can I get a grant for an empty commercial property?

We offer conversion grants of up to £10,000 to convert commercial properties that have been empty for six months or more into self-contained residential units. We do not offer grants to convert properties into bedsits.

Can I get a grant for work that needs doing to my home?

The Empty Homes Grant is only available for properties that have been empty for six months or more.

If you are a home owner you may be able to get a Helping Hands Home Repair Loan to help you pay for essential repairs to your property.  You can find our more at www.careandrepairnewcastle.co.uk

Why do landlords not have to pay the money back?

Empty Homes Grants are an incentive to encourage landlords to renovate their properties. Most need to spend more than the amount of the grant to bring their property up the Newcastle Housing Accreditation Scheme standards. We can also offer an additional loan of up to £15,000 which needs to be repaid.

Why isn’t the money used to build more council houses?

Houses that are empty for a long time have a negative impact on the local area. Building new council houses would not solve this problem.

Can I get a grant and do the work myself?

Yes, but we will only pay a grant for the cost of the materials and not your time if you do the work yourself.

Will you check that the work has been done properly?

Our Home Improvement Officer will inspect the property to make sure it meets the Newcastle Housing Accreditation Scheme standards.

What can the Council do about empty houses if the owner isn’t interested in renting them out?

If a property is causing a problem the Council can take enforcement action to make the property safe and secure.

If a property is in good condition and not causing any problem we are limited in what action we can take.

I already have tenants but the house doesn’t meet the Newcastle Housing Accreditation Scheme standards. Can I apply for a grant?

No. It is your responsibility to maintain your property. If there is a health and safety issue the Council’s Environmental Health Team may serve notice on you to carry out the repairs needed to make the property safe.

What is the Newcastle Housing Accreditation Scheme?

The Newcastle Housing Accreditation Scheme is a nationally recognised scheme that sets standards for properties and the management skills of the landlord.

Why should I become accredited?

Becoming accredited is good for business.  We will endorse you as a good landlord whose owns well managed, high standard homes that are safe, secure and comfortable places to live.  Accredited landlords can also access our:

  • Tenant Finder Service;
  • Landlords training and development programme;
  • Professional advice and support service

How do I get accredited?

If you would like your property to become accredited complete the simple application form. We will be in touch to arrange to visit your property.

How long does accreditation last?

Accreditation lasts for five years and can be renewed. We will expect your property to meet the accreditation standards throughout this time.

How do I know if a property is accredited?

Landlords will receive a certificate of accreditation to display in every property that is accredited in recognition of their achievement.

I’m thinking of renting out a property. What do I need to think about?

Property lettings can be a very complex and can be quite stressful if things go wrong so we would always recommend spending a bit of time to find out if it’s for you before going ahead.

Things you need to think about include:

  • What types of property are in demand in your area;
  • The typical rents that are being achieved;
  • Insurance, repairs and maintenance;
  • Tax implications; and
  • Government policy and legislation

You can find out more about being a successful landlord in our Landlord’s Handbook or through our Landlords Development Programme.

I want to know more about being a landlord, are there any forums or training events I can attend?

We provide a Landlords Development Programme on topics such as legislation, managing your property and tax as well as a Landlords Forum where you can meet and network with other landlords.

How does the Rent Deposit Scheme work?

If your tenant can’t afford to pay a deposit the Council can provide a written guarantee in place of a cash deposit. The guarantee lasts for up to 12 months giving the tenants time to save enough money to give you a deposit when the guarantee runs out.

I’m having problems with my tenant can you help?

We offer regular advice and support sessions.  Please email privaterentedservice@newcastle.gov.uk or phone 0191 2771438 to make an appointment.