THE Mayor of Liverpool has handed over the keys to the first person in the city to receive a home for a pound.
Jayalal Madde, 48, is 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.
He was congratulated by the Mayor as he set foot through the door of his new home, in Cairns Street, Granby, for the first time.
Mr Madde is a self-employed taxi driver who has lived for a number of years in Toxteth with his wife and two daughters, aged 10 and 12. Having put the finances in place for the refurbishment works – including raising some of the money through his local credit union – he can now start work on bringing the house up to Decent Homes Standard over the next 12 months, so he and his family can move in.
He is one of an initial 10 people who are being contacted by the city council this week to confirm that they have been successful in getting a home for a pound. It follows an overwhelming response to the plans, with more than 1,000 people applying for one of the 20 properties in the Granby Four Streets, Arnside Road and Webster Triangle East areas of the city.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “I’m delighted to have officially handed over the keys to the first recipient of a home for a pound. We’ve had an amazing response to this scheme and have been absolutely inundated with applications, so to already be in a position to allocate the first 10 homes is fantastic.
“Everything we are doing is about building a sustainable future for our neighbourhoods – and we’ve placed that at the heart of the decisions we’ve made when looking at the applications. We are only looking for people who have a genuine commitment to bringing these properties back to life and turning them into a home they are proud to live in. We’re confident that Mr Madde is one such individual, and I’m looking forward to joining him as he sees his new house for the first time.
“It mustn’t be forgotten that bringing these houses up to a decent standard will be a real challenge. Those who are successful in obtaining a house will have to put in a lot of hard work, as well as their own finances. But we’ll be there to support them in any way we can.
“Properties in these areas have lain empty for too long – but in tough economic times, we need to be creative and look at doing things differently. This pilot scheme forms part of my commitment to bring 1,000 empty properties back into use, across the city, and help as many local people as possible get onto the property ladder. I’m looking forward to it being a real success.”
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.
The formal applications process launched in April, and the city council set out strict criteria, with applicants 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 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. We’ve been really pleased with the public response to our pilot Homes for a Pound scheme – it’s really captured people’s imaginations.
“It’s great news that the scheme is moving forward so quickly, with the first people to get a £1 house already selected. Now that the first of the properties are being allocated, it’s down to business, with some real hard work ahead for Mr Madde, and the other successful applicants to turn these properties into decent family homes.
“I’m optimistic that all of those who receive a house will do a good job, and that this will prove to be an effective way of unlocking investment in properties, providing people with a much-needed home and attracting people back into our neighbourhoods.”