Help with hidden costs sees dream home restored

A couple looking for a quiet place to spend more time as a family have transformed a derelict property in Claydon with the council’s help.

Published: Friday, 22nd November 2019

Reyaz Mama and his wife discovered the canalside house, north of Banbury, online and began planning its renovation. Wary of the hidden costs of such a complex project, they contacted Cherwell District Council to find out more. 
 
The council has a duty to help bring empty homes back into use. An investigation uncovered that the house had been empty and uninhabitable since 2015. Cherwell was able to help Mr Mama secure an empty property VAT reduction from Government, which slashed the costs of renovation by up to £50,000.
 
Mr Mama said: “The idea was to maintain the look but completely re-do the property; from the wooden floors which were laid over mud, to proper floors with underfloor heating and proper insulation.”
 
“The help from the council encouraged us to carry on and allowed us to complete significantly more of the renovation, which would have been impossible without the VAT relief. The savings helped us to secure the collapsing building, by carrying out structural work, which was very expensive.”
 
The work involved completely digging out the floor of the property and replacing it with a structural cement floor. Outside, a workshop area needed new beams and columns to stop it falling down. 
 
Cherwell can provide letters confirming homes as long-term empty properties when they have been left empty for over two years. This qualifies people for the VAT reduction.
 
People who are interested in restoring an empty home with the help of the council can email sarah.collins-smith@cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk or call 01295 221631.
 
Information about eligibility for VAT reductions is available from the Government website via: bit.ly/2ObmfTT