Work is complete on the first property to be refurbished as part of Liverpool’s pioneering Homes for a Pound scheme.
Jayalal Madde, 49, was the very first applicant to be allocated a house under the city council’s pilot scheme to sell 20 of its properties for just £1 last year in the Granby Four Streets, Arnside Road in Kensington and Webster Triangle East in Picton.
He gaveMayor Joe Anderson a guided tour of his house on Cairns Street in Granby on Wednesday 10 December, ahead of moving into the property in time for Christmas.
Mr Madde is a self-employed taxi driver who has lived for a number of years in Toxteth with his wife and two daughters. Having put the finances in place for the refurbishment works – including raising some of the money through his local credit union – he has been working to bring the house up to Decent Homes Standard over the last year.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “I am really pleased to be having a look around Mr Madde’s new home and seeing the work he has carried out to bring it up to standard.
“I know from my conversations with him that he has a genuine commitment to the area, and it is great to know that a once run down property has been lovingly transformed into a home for his family, and will also help contribute to making the local area more attractive and sustainable.
“This is a really creative scheme, but is just part of the overall picture. Across the city, we’ve already brought more than 1,300 properties back into use over the last two years, and through our housing development partners we are committed to making sure another 1,000 are renovated.”
Work is underway on six other Homes for a Pound properties that were handed over last year, and the remaining properties in the pilot will be given to their new owners at the start of 2015 – taking the total number to 20. More than 1,000 people applied to be part of the scheme.
The Homes for a Pound initiative forms part of the Council’s wider plans to bring 179 homes back into use in the Granby, Picton and Arnside Road areas of Liverpool, working with Registered Housing Providers, Community Organisations and other partners.
All applicants are required to live or work in Liverpool, to be a first-time buyer and to be employed. Successful applicants must also agree to live in the property for a minimum of five years and not sub-let it within this time.
Liverpool City Council’s Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We know how important home ownership is to local people, and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to bring our empty homes back into use.
“It is just one of a range of measures that we are using to bring properties back into use, such as working with housing associations and developers. We are not pretending it is the answer to the issues with empty housing stock in Liverpool, but it is one of the tools now at our disposal.
“This scheme is very exciting but has not been without its challenges, particularly around securing house insurance for the owners and getting the utilities reconnected, but by working closely with Mr Madde and the other owners we are really making good progress now.”