History was made in Liverpool this month as the keys to the first £1 home were handed over to their new owners. Jayalal Madde, a self employed taxi driver, applied to join the scheme which intends to help people buy their first home. In a bid to revive badly disused buildings in the city, 20 people have been sold a £1 home. The 48 year old has a wife and two daughters aged 10 and 11. Having bought the home, it is now up to them to refurbish it up to standard.

Liverpool City Council is currently committed to bringing 1,000 empty properties back into use. The scheme is supposed to make a step in the housing crisis currently facing the city and wider country as a whole. Mr Madde is one of ten people who have been told that they’ve been successful in getting a £1 property this week. With finance in place to begin refurbishment, the plan is that the house will be fit to live in within 12 months.

One of the first rooms that Mr Madde will probably be renovating is the bathroom suite. After all, bathroom suites are used by everybody in the house, and along with the kitchen, is one of the most important rooms in a house. Quality bathroom suites do not have to cost the earth, and with a house costing only £1 Mr Madde will surely be able to afford a nice bathroom. Joe Andersen, the Mayor of Liverpool, handed over the keys. He said:

“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.”

It is believed that over 1,000 people applied for one of the houses, but renovating the homes will be a real challenge. Mr Andersen added: “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.”

Applications to the scheme had to fulfil a number of conditions. They have to finance the refurbishment of the houses with their own money, and be a first time buyer. The scheme was also only open to employed people who agreed to live in the property for a minimum of five years after buying it. If the scheme takes off then it could be replicated up and down the country. There are thousands of empty buildings standing in the UK which could be put to much better use. Let’s hope that the scheme works out.

About the Author – Sarah Makinson is a freelance blogger who writes for a number of home and lifestyle sites, such as Bathandshower.com.