More empty homes brought back into use

Boarded up homes

​But more empty homes officers needed 

12th July 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

More than two empty homes every day are being brought back into use in Scotland thanks to a unique campaign.

Since 2011, the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) has worked to help councils bring 3,216 private empty homes back into use with an average total market value of around half a billion pounds. 

It is estimated, however, that there are still 37,000 long-term privately-owned empty homes in Scotland. 

Releasing the figures in its annual report today SEHP said progress was strong and that 20 councils had an active empty homes officer.

It also noted that 26 councils were now applying the Vacant Dwelling Council Tax Levy, which doubles the council tax on empty homes. 

Hosted by Shelter Scotland, the SEHP is funded by the Scottish Government, which recently doubled the SEHP funding to support this vital area of work.

A key aim of the SEHP's work is to persuade all local authorities in Scotland to employ dedicated empty homes officers and to prioritise local empty homes work.

Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, praised its work but cautioned: “There is still plenty of room to make a bigger impact. Our aim is to target as many of the remaining 37,000 long-term privately owned empty homes as possible by getting the ten councils who don’t currently have an empty homes officer to invest in empty homes work in their area.

“We shall be contacting them to make the case that bringing empty homes back into use is a positive move for the community and the council – bringing clear and tangible social and economic benefits.”

Minister for housing , Kevin Stewart MSP, said:  “The work across Scotland has proven invaluable, and local authorities across the country are embracing its work. I hope to see every area capitalising on those opportunities, to realise our ambitions of an empty homes service in each local authority and to bring back as many long-term empty homes as we can.”