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Urban Planning News

  • “Reviving Empty Houses” Project from Empty to Rental Houses

  • Urban Planning News SMG 4169

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government will embark on the “Reviving Empty Houses” project with the aim of transforming houses, left empty for more than six months, into private rental houses customized for the elderly, university students, and females. Such houses will be offered at around 80% of the market price, for six years, to low-income households.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government will select 7~8 social enterprises, housing cooperatives or non-profit groups, and consign the project. About 50% of the remodeling costs per house and a maximum of KRW 20 million will be supported.

    This project will not only revive empty houses, which are on the brink of becoming a hotbed of crime but also address the problem of imbalanced supply and demand of houses due to rising rental fees. In fact, such a project is already being conducted in the U.K. and Japan.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government will start in 35 Dongs this year and gradually expand the number to 185 Dongs by 2018 (925 households based on 1-person households), securing its presence as an alternative to public rental houses.

    Applicants should be households with less than 70% of the average monthly income and located in Seoul. Also, both the householder and family members should be houseless.

    This project targets the whole region in Seoul, including areas without the maintenance project (187 places) and areas with the maintenance project (80 places). The target houses will be single houses (with more than three rooms), multi-household houses, multiplex houses, and tenement houses but excessively antiquated houses will be excluded from the list. Also, the related houses should be located in areas where public transportation is operating and renovation can be executed within a budget of less than KRW 50 million per house. Tenants can live in these homes for up to six years at around 80% of the market price.

    For more information: http://citybuild.seoul.go.kr

    • Foreign Cases

      1. The U.K.

    • • Each local government operates the Empty Home Grant to renovate empty houses and re-use them.
    • – Target: houses that were built more than 10 years ago and have been empty for more than 18 months.
    • – Both owners of own house and (new) tenants can apply; and the amount of subsidy cannot exceed KRW 36 million per household (around 50% of the business expenses).
    • – After receiving subsidies, owners of own house should possess home for more than 10 years and, when put up for sale in the middle of the period, subsidies should be returned back to the local government.
    • Renovation should meet the criteria set by the government and conversion from single houses to multi-household houses is possible.
      2. Japan

    • • After collecting opinions from the owners of empty houses, those who are willing to participate will be recruited and arranged.
    • – Empty houses will be used as houses for the elderly, the disabled, and households with kids, joint offices, community centers for residents, and centers for welfare services.
    • – Tokyo has been implementing a policy of using empty houses as “group homes for senior citizens” since 2012.
    • – A maximum of KRW 10 million is given to the owners of empty houses for renovation, and tenants are recruited through NPO.
    • – In 2012, 30 houses were renovated as “group homes for the elderly.”

    Maintenance of Empty Houses through Subsidies for Renovation