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by Jenni Davidson
22 July 2016
Councils urged to do more as survey shows three-quarters of Scots think empty houses cause anti-social behaviour

Councils urged to do more as survey shows three-quarters of Scots think empty houses cause anti-social behaviour

Image credit: Urban decay by Skittledog via Flickr

A Scottish housing organisation has called for local authorities to do more to deal with the problem of empty homes after a survey showed 75 per cent of Scots think they lead to anti-social behaviour.

Kristen Hubert of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) said she would like to see councils “responding pro-actively” to the “blight” of empty properties.

Three in every four adults in Scotland think long-term empty properties lead to anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, vandalism, fly-tipping and break-ins, according to a recent YouGov survey for the SEHP.

The survey also found that 54 per cent of those questioned feel those living nearby have a lower sense of security, while 49 per cent said that empty homes lower the value of other local properties.

Sixty per cent said that empty homes contribute directly to a reduction in available housing.

Just three per cent of respondents thought empty homes cause no problems.

Kristen Hubert, Scottish Empty Homes Partnership National Manager, said: “This survey shows just how concerned people in Scotland are about empty homes in their communities. 

“No-one likes to see empty properties being vandalised with graffiti all over them or with fly-tipping taking place. 

“The fact that only three per cent of Scottish adults think empty homes cause no problems is very telling.

“The SEHP would like to see all of Scotland’s local authorities responding pro-actively to the problem of empty homes. 

“We think more powers to tackle the blight of empty homes such as a compulsory sale order would give them the ability to force a long-term empty property or piece of land onto the open market if it hasn’t been used in three years and shows no prospect of reuse.”

Scotland’s housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “As clearly demonstrated by this survey, empty homes are a wasted resource and can be a blight on local communities.

“That’s why the Scottish Government supports the work of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership to deliver real results on the ground.”

Stewart confirmed that the Scottish Government is committed to bringing forward compulsory sale orders as part of ongoing land reform.

There are currently around 34,000 long-term empty homes across Scotland, while last year there were nearly 35,000 homelessness applications.

According to Shelter Scotland 150,000 families and individuals are currently on waiting lists for a home.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is funded by the Scottish Government and run by Shelter Scotland to help bring long-term empty properties back into use.

Last year it supported councils to revive an estimated 697 vacant properties.

It also runs a free helpline on 0344 515 1941 that people can call to report empty properties in their area and owners can use for advice on bringing their empty property back into use.

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