Over 1,000 empty Powys properties could provide a solution to the rented and private housing sector in the county and an investment opportunity for the property owners, according to a Mid Wales architect.
Over the coming months, Powys County Council will consider hiking Council Tax for empty residential properties by 50 per cent if they have been left vacant for more than 12 months under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
Doug Hughes, who runs Hughes Architects in Welshpool, Newtown and Aberystwyth, says this is a prime opportunity for private landlords to invest in them, creating new business opportunities and helping fill the gap in the rented and affordable housing property sector.
“For many years there have been discussions about how to convert town centre accommodation into housing or return redundant residential properties back into affordable living accommodation in rural Wales,” said Mr Hughes.
“We’ve worked with several clients to bring such properties back into use, creating an active income for the client as a result and good quality rented accommodation for tenants.
“We know 1,000 properties have been identified as being empty in Powys and this means many properties that have been left untouched for whatever reason could create a new and vibrant environment in their locality by bringing people back into them, such as town centres or villages, which in turn has a positive affect on the local economy.”
Powys County Council has published details setting out plans to charge an extra 50 per cent on Council Tax on properties left empty for more than 12 months, including second homes and holiday homes, but not holiday let properties.
The council is also offering interest free loans of up to £25,000 to the owners of empty properties to carry out building works and then go on to sell or rent.
The move would also support the Homes for Wales campaign which is lobbying the Welsh Government to create an ambitious plan for affordable housing under the next Government.
Hughes Architects has worked on many urban and rural affordable housing schemes, working closely with private property owners to create good quality accommodation for rent or to sell through Mid Wales.
The most recent schemes have been in the Severn Valley in Newtown and Welshpool.
The practice itself has converted its Newtown town centre offices to accommodate rented accommodation n the fist and second floors.
“We’ve identified many properties in Mid Wales that could be returned to housing and we’re talking affordable housing or rented accommodation,” added Mr Hughes.
“The news that Powys County Council is seeking to increase the Council Tax on vacant premises is an incentive in itself to push property owners to consider investing in their properties and bringing them back into use, thus plugging the property gap in terms of affordable rented and property to buy in the area.”
For more media information about Hughes Architects, please contact:
Marketing Communications, t: 07787 437052 e: Owain.Betts@hughesarchitects.co.uk