Corby has been chosen to take part in a pilot scheme aimed at bringing empty homes back into use.
The council has joined the National Empty Homes Loan Fund scheme to renovate some of the 250 long-term empty properties in the town.
The joint initiative between the borough council, the charity Empty Homes, the government and the Ecology Building Society will provide loans of up to £15,000 to owners to carry out repairs needed to get properties back into affordable use.
The fund was one of the demands of last year’s Great British Property Scandal campaign led by architect and broadcaster George Clarke.
The National Empty Homes Loan Fund will enable people to have access to secured loans at a fixed five per cent interest rate.
The scheme is being funded by a grant of £3m from government and is being administered by the Ecology Building Society, a specialist mortgage lender that supports sustainable communities.
Leader of Corby Council Cllr Tom Beattie said: “We are very pleased to be able to be part of this scheme and yet again lead the way in tackling long-term empty homes.
“We know that many empty properties exist within our area because owners simply do not have the money that is required to bring them back up to a habitable standard and this initiative will make a start on tackling this problem.”
Loans are available to people over 18 who own a property that has been empty for six months or more.
Paul Ellis, chief executive of Ecology Building Society, said: “We exist to support projects that will benefit the environment and local communities, so it’s natural for us to want to support efforts to bring empty homes back into use.
“This can affect any street in any town.
“At a time when there is increasing demand for homes but an acute lack of supply it makes sense to bring new life to existing but neglected properties, and we want to help provide the incentive for people to take on an empty home.”