PRIVATE landlords in Burnley will be given loans from a £7m pot to bring empty houses back into use.

Burnley Council hopes the money will bring 175 homes up to standard by the end of 2014.

Landlords will be able to borrow up to £20,000 per property to carry out repairs on eligible sites.

The money, available through the Empty Homes Cluster programme, can be spent on properties which have been empty for more than six months and require ‘substantial repair work’.

It will focus on homes which have been subject to anti-social behaviour such as vandalism and arson.

Coun Howard Baker, the council’s executive member for housing and environment, said: “The council is committed to doing what it can to bring empty houses back into use to help improve the borough’s housing stock and benefit local communities.

“We have a number of initiatives in place to achieve that, one of which is a landlord loan scheme which encourages private sector landlords to refurbish properties that need major work doing to them to make them habitable again.”

Clare Jackson, private sector housing manager at Burnley Council, added: “The council is working closely with landlords to improve the quality of private rented houses and bring empty properties back into use. That benefits them, the new tenants and neighbours alike.”

Ian Gregory, a landlord who has already used the scheme, said he was ‘extremely grateful’ for the council’s assistance.

He said: “This is an excellent scheme that I would recommend to anyone who needs help getting their property into a rentable condition. Being able to spread the payments over 10 years really softens the blow and allows you to get back on your feet again without taking one step forward and then two backwards."