Holyrood committee to investigate problem of empty homes

Written by Jenni Davidson on 5 April 2019 in News

The Local Government and Communities Committee wants to find out how those can be brought back into use

Boarded up houses - Image credit: Skittledog via Flickr

MSPs have launched an inquiry into Scotland’s empty homes.

According to National Records of Scotland data, in 2017 four per cent of Scotland’s housing was unoccupied, with one per cent being used as second homes and three per cent vacant.

While the number of second homes had decreased, the number of vacant homes had increased since changes to the law in 2012 allowed councils to increase council tax on certain types of empty properties.

Focusing on those that are vacant, the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee will examine the scale of the issue as well as how effective the current legislation is and what more can be done to prevent properties remaining empty for extended periods of time.

Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee James Dornan said: “There are a number of reasons why a property can be empty, but empty homes can have a huge impact on communities and reduce available housing supply at a time when housing is in great demand.

“The committee will explore the extent of the problem and the impact this can have in both urban and rural communities across Scotland.

“We want to ensure local authorities have appropriate powers to tackle this issue and that everything possible is being done to encourage owners to put these empty homes back into use.

“To do this we want to hear from local authorities, housing experts and those who have been impacted by empty homes in their communities.”

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