MSPs ask why rising number of homes in Scotland left empty

MSPs are to investigate why a rising number of homes in Scotland are being left empty for prolonged periods.

Around four per cent of dwellings in Scotland lie empty. Picture: John Devlin

Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee announced today that it will examine the scale of the issue, the effectiveness of current legislation and what more can be done to prevent properties remaining empty in the long term.

National Records of Scotland data from 2017 has shown that four per cent of the dwellings north of the Border are unoccupied and the Committee’s inquiry will investigate why.

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Last year, a report compiled by Greens MSP Andy Wightman found the proportion of empty homes in Scotland had risen, with around 100,000 unoccupied or being used on a seldom basis as occasional holiday homes.

Committiee convener James Dornan said: “There are a number of reasons why a property can be empty, but empty homes can have a huge impact on communities and reduce available housing supply at a time when housing is in great demand.

“The committee will explore the extent of the problem and the impact this can have in both urban and rural communities across Scotland.

“We want to ensure local authorities have appropriate powers to tackle this issue and that everything possible is being done to encourage owners to put these empty homes back into use. To do this we want to hear from local authorities, housing experts and those who have been impacted by empty homes in their communities.”