Buyer receives keys to £1 home
Wednesday 9th October 2013, 12:40PM BST.
The first person to buy a house for £1 in a scheme designed to breathe life back into deserted neighbourhoods received the keys to his new home today.
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, handed over the keys to Jayalal Madde, 48, who is the first applicant to be allocated a house under the city council’s pilot scheme to sell 20 of its properties for £1 each.
Mr Madde, a self-employed taxi driver, who lives in Toxteth with his wife and two daughters, aged 10 and 12, bought a terraced house in Cairns Street, Granby.
Having put the finances in place for the refurbishment works – including raising some of the money through his local credit union – Mr Madde said he was now planning to start work on bringing the house up to the Decent Homes Standard over the next 12 months, so he and his family could move in.
The taxi driver is one of an initial 10 people who are being contacted by the city council this week to confirm they have been successful in getting a home for £1.
More than 1,000 people applied for one of the 20 properties in the Granby Four Streets, Arnside Road and Webster Triangle East areas of the city.
Mr Anderson said: “I’m delighted to be officially handing over the keys to the first recipient of a home for £1.
“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.”
The Mayor added: “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 the city council’s commitment to bring 1,000 empty properties back into use across the city, and help as many local people as possible get on the property ladder.
When the initiative was launched in April, the city council set out strict criteria, with applicants required to live or work in Liverpool, 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 that time.
The city council estimates that the work required on each of the partially derelict properties is likely to cost more than £35,000.
Residents are expected to refurbish their house to Decent Home Standard, which means it must be in a reasonable state of repair, be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities.
Those successful in obtaining a property will sign up to a building licence.
The property will be surveyed and a works schedule provided, with refurbishment expected to be completed within 12 months.
On completion of the work, the property will inspected to ensure that the refurbishment has been carried out satisfactorily. The property freehold will then be transferred from the city council to the purchaser.
The decision to sell the houses for £1 came after months of delays caused by the council’s decision to break off talks with developer Leader1.
The firm had been in line to redevelop hundreds of homes in the “Granby Triangle” but city leaders pulled the £25 million tender after the company failed to meet deadlines.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “This is excellent news, both for the people who are set to move into their very own home and for the city of Liverpool, which is regenerating a run-down area and bringing back residents, shops and jobs.
“Across the country there are thousands of empty homes that have the potential to be turned back into great places for people to live and we are working hard with council such as Liverpool to achieve this.”