Empty Homes Initiative bringing housing back into use

“This report highlights the importance of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) and how it is helping to bring empty homes back into productive use,” said Councillor Kenny MacLaren (SNP – Paisley Northwest), commenting on a report that highlighted the SEHP has helped to bring more than 700 homes lying empty for more than 6 months back into use.

Last year the partnership supported local authorities and partners to bring 742 long-term private empty homes back into use across Scotland – more than two every day.

Since 2011, the SEHP has worked to help councils bring 3,216 private, long-term empty homes back into use with an average total market value of around half a billion pounds.

Renfrewshire Council teamed up with West Dunbartonshire Council to employ an Empty Homes Officer who is part of this partnership.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren added:

“In the past few months the Empty Homes Officer for Renfrewshire has been working on a number of properties within my ward, trying to locate the owners and encourage them to bring their property back into productive use.

“When a property is left empty there may be problems for neighbours ranging from unkempt gardens to communal repairs which go unfixed. However, the persistence of the Empty Homes Officer for Renfrewshire has managed to track down owners and helped to encourage them to think about the long term future of their property.

“Long-term empty homes can be a blight on communities and are a wasted resource at a time when we need more homes – bringing them back into use is a cost-effective way to increase supply and support community regeneration.”

Minister for local government, housing and planning, Kevin Stewart MSP, said:

“Making sure everyone has access to a safe, warm place to call home is a priority for the Scottish Government. That’s not just about building new homes, but also making better use of existing stock.”