Reasons behind Scotland's empty properties

With thousands of private homes in Scotland left empty for long periods new research reveals why this is the case.

Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 12:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 2:02 pm
PIC PHIL WILKINSON. TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS EN PICS. Steve Burgess - City of Edinburgh Council Who is pushing for a higher council tax rate for unoccupied property forcing owners to rent them out instead of having empty flats etc.

It is estimated that 27,000 private residences are empty - one year after Scotland’s first empty homes helpline was launched.

Two of the top reasons behind this are the fear of becoming a landlord and the responsibilities it brings, along with waiting for property prices to rise in order to sell.

A lack of motivation or know-how was also often quoted as a reason for leaving homes empty for six months or longer, as well as a lack of insurance to cover the cost of repairing a damaged home.

Some empty home owners admitted they had an emotional attachment to their empty homes and found it hard to let go of them – sometimes for decades on end – because they had grown up there.

One of the more unusual reasons included an owner who did not realise for years that they had inherited a property – worth over £150,000 – after a relative passed away.

The data, compiled from calls made during the first year of the free empty homes helpline, suggests that many of the country’s 27,000 long-term empty homes could be brought back into use with the right advice and support for owners and communities.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is run by Shelter Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, operates the free national helpline. It estimates that long-term private empty homes across Scotland are worth a combined total of £4.5 billion.

Since its launch in 2010 the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership has helped councils and others to bring back into use over 1,750 homes across the country.

Kristen Hubert from the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “One year on from the launch of the empty homes helpline, we have helped hundreds of owners to start the process of bringing their properties back into use, either for themselves or others in need of a home.”

To report an empty home, call 0344 515 1941.