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Cash to bring homes up to scratch

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale

AN ALLOCATION of £400,000 this week will support the delivery of the Below Tolerable Standards (BTS) initiative in homes across the region.

It sets out what elements are required in a residential property to make it habitable, including a stable fabric of the building, adequate water supply, bath or shower, supply of hot and cold water and effective drainage.
Grants ranging from 30 per cent to 100 per cent are available for homes which are below those standards.
In addition, £100,000 will establish an Empty Homes Fund in the region, aimed at bringing vacant properties back to life.
The fund is targeted at home owners whose property has been empty for at least one year. Funding will be applied at a flat rate of 50 per cent of the cost of the works assessed by the Empty Homes Officer, with a maximum available grant of £10,000.
The scheme is open to private landlords who intend to let the property or private owners who intend to occupy the property, subject to conditions, and for a minimum occupancy period of five years.
And £30,000 is being allocated to the Trusted Trader Scheme.
It provides a register of traders from the home improvement sector which ensures home owners have a choice when it comes to choosing a reliable trader to work on their property.
Councillors have noted the performance of the Care and Repair service for 2015/16, and a high satisfaction rate.
It is part of the Scheme of Assistance, as is the Handy Van Service which carries out free small repairs and home support services for vulnerable people.
There have been 1123 tasks completed over the first two quarters of 2015/16, with 952 clients assisted.

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