The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has today, Friday 5 April 2019, launched a call for written views on our new inquiry into empty homes in Scotland.
National Records of Scotland data shows that of the 2.60 million dwellings in Scotland in 2017, 105,000 (4%) were unoccupied. These unoccupied dwellings include second homes (25,700, 1% of all dwellings) and vacant properties (79,200, 3% of all dwellings). Vacant properties include new homes which are yet to be occupied, and dwellings which are empty and awaiting demolition, amongst others.
There are many reasons why a property can be empty, such as periods when the owner may be in hospital or prison, issues relating to bereavement, inoccupancy due to long-term renovations, or difficulties in selling a home when an owner has moved. Whilst the reasons are many, there is no doubt that long-term empty homes can impact on available housing supply and the local community.
The Committee has therefore agreed to undertake a short focussed inquiry into empty homes in Scotland. Organisations and individuals are invited to submit written evidence to the Committee setting out their views.
The remit of the inquiry is as follows:
- The extent of, and reasons for, empty homes in Scotland;
- How effective existing legislation and policy is at addressing the problem of empty homes;
- What more can be done to prevent homes remaining empty and to encourage owners to bring them back into use.
The Committee is not looking at second homes as part of its inquiry, as these are seen to raise policy and public interest considerations that are distinct from empty homes.
If it helps to structure your response, you may wish to answer some or all of the following questions in your submission.
1. What, in your view, are the main causes of empty homes?
2. Is this a problem which affects all tenures of housing? Please provide further information to explain your answer.
3. What is the impact on communities in areas where there are large numbers of empty homes?
4. Is the issue of empty homes a problem in particular areas and if so, why?
5. Are you aware of any areas which have made progress in addressing the issue of empty homes and if so, what other local authorities could learn?
6. How effective are current tools open to local authorities/central government to deal with empty homes? Should they have more powers?
7. Should there be more enforcement powers for local authorities/central government to deal with the issue? If so, what could these be?
8. Is there enough information/data to provide an accurate picture of empty homes in Scotland? If not, how could this be improved?
The call for written views will close on Friday 17 May 2019.
Before making a submission, please read our privacy notice here about submitting your views to a Committee. If you are under 12 years old, please refer to the privacy notice here. These tell you about how we process your personal data.
Please use the template provided to format your submission. This includes the Data Protection Form. Fill this out and return it with your submission. If you are under twelve years of age we will need the consent of your parent or guardian. Please use this form.
We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the time required to process and analyse evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the agreement of the Committee.
Written responses should be sent electronically, in the above template format to the following address. Ideally they should be no more than four sides of A4.
If you cannot submit electronically you may send in a hard copy written submission. If you are sending in a hard copy submission please print off and include a copy of the Data Protection Form. Please send them to:
Local Government and Communities Committee Clerk
If you have any further questions regarding the Committee’s scrutiny of this topic, please contact the Committee clerking team at the above e-mail address or call 0131 348 6037.