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Call for compulsory sales orders to tackle empty homes 14/11/2019 A Holyrood Committee has called on the Scottish Government to fulfil its commitment and introduce compulsory sales orders to tackle the blight of empty homes

Call for compulsory sales orders to tackle the blight of empty homes

A Holyrood Committee has called on the Scottish Government to fulfil its commitment and introduce compulsory sales orders to tackle the blight of empty homes.

The call is part of a series of recommendations made in the Local Government and Communities Committee’s report into Scotland’s empty homes. Recent figures have shown that over 3% of Scotland’s 2.62 million dwellings are empty and the report highlights the hugely negative impact that empty homes have on Scotland’s communities.

The Committee has also said it is unacceptable that the council tax levy, which allows local authorities to remove the discount on empty properties and charge a council tax increase of up to 100%, is being over-used by some councils. In some cases, the levy is being used as a revenue raising tool, exacerbating the empty homes problem rather than solving it.

Other findings in the report, which does not look at second homes, include:

  • the Committee welcoming the possible use of GIS mapping by local authorities to help create a more accurate picture of the number of empty homes in Scotland,
  • support for the work of Scotland’s Empty Homes Partnership; with the Committee encouraging the Scottish Government to work with COSLA and the Partnership to ensure best practice in tackling empty homes is shared; and
  • highlighting the distinct challenge of dealing with empty homes in rural communities and the Committee calling for the Scottish Government to review the Rural and Islands Housing Fund.

"Empty Homes are a blight upon communities across Scotland and represent a wasted resource at a time when housing supply is limited,” said James Dornan MSP, Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee. “The evidence we have gathered makes it clear there is not a one-size fits all solution to this problem.”
 

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