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02/12/2019

New Strategy To Bring Empty Homes Back Into Use In Glasgow

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Hundreds of long-term empty homes in Glasgow are set to be brought back into use courtesy of a new strategy.

Glasgow City Council's Empty Homes Strategy has been approved by committee, supporting the local authority's commitment to increasing Glasgow's housing supply.

The new three-year strategy will increase the availability of housing stock in the city, offer homeowners information and advice to help bring properties back into use, and help identify opportunities for suitable housing for particular groups. It is also expected to tackle environmental and neighbourhood blight while safeguarding the interest of tenement flat owners to facilitate common repairs work.

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Glasgow currently has 2,687 homes listed as being empty for six months or more, with second homes not included in this figure.

The most common reasons for these homes becoming empty for a long time include mortgage default and repossessions; deceased or untraceable owners; property title issues; and properties which have fallen into a state of disrepair.

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010, local authorities can now use Council Tax records to identify vacant homes and bring them back into use, and from 2018, a surcharge of up to 100% of Council Tax can be charged to owners of empty homes which are not being marketed for sale or rent. Glasgow is the only Scottish local authority which alerts home owners prior to this application of the premium charge.

The Glasgow Housing Strategy - now halfway through its five-year life, and part of the wider Glasgow Housing Strategy - had set a target of 475-570 long-term empty homes being returned to use by end of that period, but this programme is already ahead of schedule, with 380 homes now back in use, most of which are now in the social rent sector.

(CM/JG)

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