This content applies to Scotland only.
Scottish Empty Homes Partnership
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership exists to help councils and their partners pursue work to bring private sector empty homes back into use. The project is funded by the Scottish Government and housed by Shelter Scotland. The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Advisory Group brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the project which will also draw on good practice and lessons learned from similar work in England and Wales.
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 post of Empty Homes Coordinator was created as a result of that recommendation.
If you know of an empty home or property in your area, report it at www.reportemptyhomes.com
There are just over 23,000 long term private sector empty homes in Scotland. 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.
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 will provide support for councils including the creation of an Empty Homes Officer Network and providing council specific advice and information.
Alongside Private Rented Sector Homes there are also mant long term social sector empty homes. There are currently 3,095 local authority homes that have been vacant for over 6 months. 1,672 of these have been empty for over 2 years.
Advice to Empty Home Owners
If you have an empty property and you would like advice and information on what you can do see our Advice Page.
Do you offer services to empty home owners? Tell us about your services by filling in this brief form.
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is funding the use of the website reportemptyhomes.com where members of the public can report the address or postcode of a suspected empty home. Information will then be fed back to the appropriate officer in the local authority responsible for that area. 14 councils have signed up to this web intiative which was launched on the 22nd November 2010. If you are a council and would like further information to sign up to this initiative please get in contact with the Empty Homes Co-ordinator.
Support for Councils
Empty Homes Officer Network
It can be difficult to share good practice between councils, especially when the work does not always sit with one officer or indeed within one service area. Empty Homes work can involve officers from housing departments, environmental health, planning, council tax, and strategy. In order to facilitate connections between officers who work with empty homes or who have an interest in working with empty homes a new officer network is being created. It is open not only to council officers but to others in organisations that may work in partnership with councils, such as community planning partners and housing associations.
The network communicates primarily by email and web discussion forum (on the communities of practice public service website), but there are opportunities to meet face to face at seminars and workshops organised to address particular issues of interest to network members. There have been two network seminars events to date looking at 'Data Collection and First Steps' and 'Enforcements and Incentives'.
Advice and Collaboration
Part of the role of the Empty Homes Coordinator is to do the work and research to gather ideas and good practice that can help councils to consider new ways of approaching the issue of empty homes.
The Empty Homes Coordinator can support your council by:
- Meeting with you to discuss your particular local issues regarding empty homes;
- Gather appropriate best practice examples and information;
- Provide input and comment on draft strategies/policies;
- Facilitate partnership working;
- Arrange seminars/training on particular topics related to empty homes work.
There may also be opportunities for the Empty Homes Coordinator to become more closely involved in a local project in your area.
Homes Again Project
Homes Again is the empty homes shared services project covering the south and east of Scotland. We have two Regional Empty Homes Officers working on bringing private sector empty homes back into use.
- Alison Morris - covering Fife and West Lothian Email: Alison_Morris@shelter.org.uk
- Fiona Todd - covering East Lothian, Scottish Borders and Dumfries Town Centre Housing Renewal Area E-mail: Fiona_Todd@shelter.org.uk
- Action Plan Guide
- Data Collection Guide
- Finance Guide
- Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Annual Report 2010/11
- Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Baseline Report
- Housing Bill - Vacant Dwelling Amendment Briefing
- Advice and Information for Empty Home Owners - Council template
- Response to Scottish Government Council Tax Proposals December 2011
- Written evidence to Local Government Finance (Unoccupied Premises etc.) (Scotland) Bill
- Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Annual Report 2011/12
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Advisory Group provide expertise, advice and support to the Empty Homes Coordinator 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:
- Gerry Begg – COSLA (Scottish Borders Council)
- Stuart Law – Scottish Government
- Liz Dickson – Scottish Housing Best Value Network
- Sarah-Jane Laing – Scottish Land and Estates
- Derek Logie – Rural Housing Service
- Isabel Fry – RCAHMS
- Gavin Corbett – Shelter Scotland
Advisory Group meeting - 13 January 2011
Advisory Group meeting - 30 September 2010
- Paper 1 - Quarterly Activity Report
- Paper 2 - Possible Amendment to the Housing Bill: Council Tax Data
- Paper 3 - Flagship Projects Discussion Paper
Advisory Group meeting – 23 June 2010
- Paper 1 – Remit and Membership
- Paper 2 – Launch proposal and Early Dissemination
- Paper 3 – Website discussion