Almost 900 empty properties brought back into use last year
Too many local authorities are still missing out on gains available from bringing empty homes back into use
Houses: Picture credit - Skittledog via Flickr
Almost 900 privately-owned, long-term empty properties were brought back into use in 2016/17, according to new figures.
However, according to the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP), too many local authorities are still missing out on gains available from bringing the country’s 34,000 long-term empty homes back into use.
Latest figures from the SEHP annual report show that of the 859 houses brought back into use, only 28 were in areas that do not have a dedicated empty house officer (EHO).
A further four were supported back into use by the Scottish Empty Homes Advice Service.
Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland which hosts the SEHP on behalf of the Scottish Government, said: “These figures show that putting resources into tackling long-term privately-owned empty homes is an effective way of increasing available housing.
“It’s fantastic to see more than 800 homes brought back into use in one year. That’s 800 more homes that are badly needed in a country struggling to build enough to meet demand.
“The councils that are not investing in this area of work are missing out on the money new residents bring into the local economy, they’re missing out on council tax revenue and they’re missing out on an opportunity to act on neighbourhood priorities where empty properties are attracting anti-social behaviour.”
Meanwhile a new poll has found that only 20 per cent of Scots think councils are doing enough to reduce the number of long-term empty homes in their area.
The research was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the SEHP, which said the results back its findings that residents are frustrated by the lack of action to tackle the waste and eyesore of empty homes.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The work of the dedicated empty homes officers has proven invaluable in everything SEHP has achieved.
“Clearly there is still some way to go to ensure every area benefits, and local authorities across the country should be capitalising on the opportunities they provide.
“That partnership working can help realise our ambitions of an empty homes service in every area and bringing back as many of our long-term empty homes as we can.”
Call for more power to be devolved to community councils in the Highlands
There are still too many areas with poor green infrastructure in Scotland, says Mike Cantlay
Joe Fitzpatrick confirms FOI laws will apply to registered social landlords from March next year
Communities are to have their say on how more decisions can be taken at a local level