Scottish Empty Homes Partnership
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership exists to help bring private sector empty homes back into use. The project is funded by the Scottish Government and housed by Shelter Scotland.
According to Scottish Government data there are around 34,000 long term private sector empty homes in Scotland. A property becomes 'long term' empty when it's been unoccupied for 6 months or more.
A 2016 survey by YouGov found that 75% of Scots believe that empty homes cause anti-social behaviour, 60% believe they reduce the amount of available housing and 54% report a decreased sense of safety caused by empty homes.
Work on empty homes can achieve positive outcomes with regards to:
- Housing Supply
- Community Regeneration/Town Centre Renewal
- Sustaining Rural Communities
- Restoring Confidence in local property markets
- Discouraging Anti-Social Behaviour (due to fire/vandalism/flytipping of empty properties)
- Climate Change and Sustainability
Work on empty homes also represents value for money. The Empty Homes Agency in England has estimated that the cost of refurbishing an empty home is between £6,000 - £25,000. The average cost of a new build home in Scotland is £100,000 +. And of course when you are bringing an empty home back into use the infrastructure and local services will already be in place.
The Scottish Government 2009 review of the Private Rented Sector identified the need for a national post to support councils who wish to pursue empty homes work. The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership was established as a result of that recommendation and began its work in June 2010.
Empty Homes cannot solve housing supply issues alone, but they can be part of a holistic solution to provide local affordable housing and to regenerate communities. The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership provides support for organisations including councils, housing associations, community groups and others, to develop policies and processes that will bring private sector empty homes back into use. This includes working closely with local council Empty Homes Officers to facilitate best practice sharing. The Partnership also runs a rolling programme of Empty Homes Shared Services Projects that enable councils to pilot empty homes work within their council before creating longer term mainstream empty homes services.
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Advisory Group brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the project which also draws on good practice and lessons learned from similar work in England and Wales.
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Advisory Group provide expertise, advice and support to the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Team based at Shelter Scotland in pursing the aim of bringing empty homes back into use as one of a number of ways of addressing housing supply shortfalls in Scotland. Membership includes:
- Gavin Corbett - Shelter Scotland (Chair)
- John Kerr - COSLA (West Dunbartonshire Council)
- Ross Lindsay - Scottish Government
- Liz Dickson - Scottish Housing Network
- Katy Dickson - Scottish Land and Estates
- Derek Logie - Rural Housing Service
- Isabel Fry - Historic Environment Scotland
- Phil Prentice - Scotland's Towns Partnership
- Angela Williams - Community Land Scotland
- John Blackwood - Scottish Association of Landlords