‘New life’ breathed into over 600 Glasgow empty homes

OVER 600 empty homes have been brought back to life in Glasgow, which currently has almost 3,000 homes still lying empty.

According to an announcement issued by the local authority (here): “Since 2019, 607 homes have been brought back into productive use through council’s Empty Homes Officers (EHO) working with owners, following the target of 200-250 homes per year.”

But it admits: “Glasgow currently has 2,659 homes listed as being empty for six months or more (the figure doesn’t include second homes). Empty homes are not only a wasted resource that could be used to address local housing needs but can also become a blight on the community by becoming eyesores and attracting vandalism.”

The announcement further makes an economic case for the restoration of empty homes: “The economic advantage to bringing an empty home back to productive use is clear: it costs between £6,000 – £25,000 to renovate an empty property compared to an estimated cost of £120,000 to build a new home.”

It adds: “Actions to bring back these homes into use falls under three broad categories: selling the property, renting or on occupation. Those who wish to report empty homes can do so by emailing [email protected] or phoning 0141 287 0405 / 1373 / 7994 and this will allow the Empty Homes team to offer advice, guidance and support to enable owners to make an informed decision regarding their empty home.

“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 a surcharge of up to 100 per cent of Council Tax can be charged to owners of empty homes which are not being marketed for sale or rent.”

It continues: “Where there are instances where an owner cannot be traced or refuses to engage with the EHO, the council will consider the use of compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers. CPO powers are considered when all other options have been exhausted, the use of CPO is to improve the condition of the housing stock and bring empty properties back into use working with registered social landlords to provide assistance through the acquisition strategy. Any homes that have been compulsory purchased will be brought back into use for social rent.

“Since 2019, committee authorisation has been sought to promote a total of 52 CPOs for properties across Glasgow, with a total of 37 CPOs now been progressed or confirmed. With the remaining 15 properties, 13 have been acquired by the respective housing associations on a voluntary basis and the remaining two properties have either been sold or occupied by family members, negating the need to proceed with the CPO.”

Pictured: City Chambers, Glasgow, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland