Tackling empty home crisis

JPCT 15112 YMCA Empty Home initiative. Greg Smith from YMCA in a empty flat. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 15112 YMCA Empty Home initiative. Greg Smith from YMCA in a empty flat. Photo by Derek Martin

A Horsham landlord is one of the first to take part in a new initiative by the YMCA to get empty homes back on the market.

There are currently more the 350 homes standing empty across the Horsham district while at the same time the nation faces a housing crisis.

The Central and Mid Sussex YMCA has successfully launched its empty home scheme to help get some back onto the market.

Private rented sector property manager for Central and Mid Sussex YMCA Greg Smith said the YMCA’s initiative helps overcome one of the main obstacles which prevent people from selling the property.

“There are people out there who own property they don’t want to sell, but they haven’t got the capital to refurbish it and that’s where we can step in.

“We will take the property in its current condition on a five-year lease. The attraction for any owner is that they know they are going to get rent for five years.

“We will pay for the renovation and the works required in compliance with the Home and Communities Agency as well as maintenance and insurance during the lease. Then we will refer people from our organisation.”

The landlord of a property off Crawley Road, who preferred not to be named, is signing papers for YMCA to lease his property.

He bought the property with the intention of refurbishing it and letting it out, but after the recession started he could not get the finances to pay for the work.

He said: “The banks will not lend regardless of what the Government says. For the future it’s really good for me financially and also I feel like I am doing something for the community and it’s the right thing for me.”

Greg said it’s a positive result for all parties involved. “What’s good from our point of view is that we know those who are ready to move on and we can feel quite confident that they will be good tenants.

“It gives them more independence, it gives out young people something to aim for and it expands our property portfolio.”

If you have a property to lease, contact the YMCA for more information about joining the scheme call 01273 222558 or email emptyhomes@sussexcentralymca.org.uk