Homes in the City Grant
This discretionary grant is used to bring empty properties back into use within the city and therefore make best use of the existing housing stock in Worcester. It is open to owners of vacant spaces/properties or Registered Providers who wish to purchase an empty property from a private owner to undertake works to bring the property back into use.
This grant is available to carry out works of repair, improvement and adaptation to provide new units of self contained housing accommodation (not bedsits) for rent by the conversion of vacant spaces.
A priority system is in place to prioritise the grant payments. High priority will be given to applicants who wish to convert empty commercial premises in specific conservation areas and developments of two and three bed accommodation will also attract a high score.
- The landlord will be required to sign a ‘Fit and Proper Landlords declaration'. This is to ensure the owner is a suitable person to be a landlord (or their managing agent if applicable), and join WCC accreditation scheme.
- The grant will be used to encourage and assist owners of empty properties or space, or Registered Social Landlords purchasing an empty property or space from a private owner to bring it into living accommodation.
- The property or space must have been empty for 12 months or more and, in the case of spaces which were last used as offices, must have been empty for more than 2 years.
- The grant is awarded to undertake works to the property which would make it free of a serious hazard under the Housing Health and Safety Ratings System (HHSRS). For further information on the HHSRS then please visit the Repairs Page.
- The property must have been empty for a period not less than 12 month and, in the case of spaces which were lasted used as offices, must have been empty for more than 2 years.
- Grant funding will only be available for essential works as deemed appropriate by the council, to enable the property to become free of Category 1 Hazard' or a significant ‘Category 2' under HHSRS.
- The grant payable is 50% of the cost of the eligible work as specified by Worcester City Council Property Standards Officer conditions
- The grant will be registered as a charge against the property and the owner will need to repay the Council in full if the property is disposed of within 10 years or not rented for five years.
- Rents will be set at no higher than housing benefit eligibility levels as determined by the Local Housing Allowance for the duration of the grant conditions.
- Owners will be expected to make their property available to Worcester City Council Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme or other private sector initiatives, for a minimum of three years, and must meet all regulations laid down by these schemes or initiatives. Further information will be provided at application stage.
- The landlord must advise the Private Accommodation and Standards Team when the tenant vacates the property and allow us the opportunity of replacing the tenant.
- The landlord must give a signed undertaking that the property will be available for rent for a further two years after the initial three.
The grant payable is 50% of the cost of the eligible work. Grants will be awarded on a sliding scale according to the number of bedrooms created. Therefore the grant availability is as follows:-
- One bedroom - £7,000
Two bedrooms - £11,000
Three bedrooms or more - £15,000
WCC has discretion to vary the maximum grant level available where significant works are required above these thresholds to a maximum of £15,000.
This is a discretionary grant and subject to available resources. If demand for this grant exceeds the budget available, the Council would not maintain a waiting list.
If you believe that you meet the above criteria for the Homes in the City Grant then please complete the application form below. If you would like further information about this grant then please contact the Private Accommodation Standards Team.