Number of empty homes brought back into use in Scotland increases by 35%

MORE than 1,150 empty homes in Scotland were brought back into use last year, according to new figures published by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.

The number of properties brought back into use was 35% higher than in the previous year, when renovation work was put on hold, rental properties stood vacant, people were put off house moves, and private sector landlords held back on investment in the property market.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership said that the figures suggest that many of the homes that became, or remained, long-term empty due to the pandemic have now been returned to use.

However, the figures are still 18% lower than they were in the year prior to the pandemic. The organisation said that the long-term impacts of Covid coupled with a rise in material costs, shortages in supplies, and a lack of available local tradespeople are continuing to impact the number of homes that can be brought back to use.

Shaheena Din, national project manager at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said, “We are delighted about the boost in the number of empty homes the empty homes officer network has helped bring back into use in the past year, which brings us closer to pre-pandemic levels. With this year’s figures, it now means that empty homes officers have now helped to bring over 7,700 homes back in to use since the partnership began.

“The longer homes remain empty the harder it becomes to bring them back into use. Two and five years empty are particular milestones after which work to bring a home back to use becomes both more complex and costly. The role empty house officers have to play in unlocking these properties is clearly demonstrated by the almost 400 homes that have been brought back to use after being empty for between two and five years being returned to use, and more than 150 homes that had been empty for more than five years.”