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People are scared to live in areas with empty homes

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Members of the public fear anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, vandalism, fly-tipping and break-ins Scottish Empty Homes Partnership survey finds

People are scared to live in an area where the majority of homes lie unoccupied, a project which aims to bring empty properties back in to use has found.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP), which aims to bring back dormant private sector housing to reduce homelessness, found three quarters of adults think that empty homes directly cause anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, vandalism, fly-tipping and break-ins.

Just over half (54%), who took part in the YouGov survey, said that living near empty homes led to a decreased sense of security with 49% adding that empty homes lower the value of local properties.

Only 3% of respondents said they think empty homes cause no problems in communities.

The SEHP would like to see all of Scotland’s local authorities responding pro-actively to the problem of empty homes

SEHP, which is funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by Shelter Scotland, estimates there are currently around 34,000 long-term private empty homes across Scotland, while according to Shelter, 150,000 families and individuals are on waiting lists for a home.

Kristen Hubert, SEHP national manager, said called on local councils to take more responsibility for the problem and called for the Scottish Government to give them more powers to do so.

“This survey shows just how concerned people in Scotland are about empty homes in their communities,” she said.

“No-one likes to see empty properties being vandalised with graffiti all over them or with fly-tipping taking place. The fact that only 3% of Scottish adults think empty homes cause no problems is very telling.

“The SEHP would like to see all of Scotland’s local authorities responding pro-actively to the problem of empty homes.

“We think more powers to tackle the blight of empty homes such as a compulsory sale order would give them the ability to force a long-term empty property or piece of land onto the open market if it hasn’t been used in three years and shows no prospect of reuse.”

SEHP recently issued its annual report which said more than £110 million of empty properties were brought back into use last year.

The Scottish Government has said it will bring forward proposals for compulsory sale orders.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart added: “As clearly demonstrated by this survey, empty homes are a wasted resource and can be a blight on local communities.

“That’s why the Scottish Government supports the work of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership to deliver real results on the ground. Since 2010 the partnership has brought almost 1700 homes back into use and helped 17 local authorities to appoint dedicated empty homes officers.

“To add to the range of tools available to tackle empty homes, we are committed to bringing forward provisions for compulsory sales orders as part of on-going land reform measures.”

 

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