Aberdeen to launch new empty homes service
Aberdeen City Council has launched a new empty homes service with support from the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP).
A full-time specialist empty homes officer will be employed to help track down owners of empty properties and work with them to return them to the housing stock, for instance by advising them on how to bring a property up to standard for rent or sale, or helping them find a developer who will buy a building that needs work.
During the two-year pilot, it will provide support and advice to owners and also to neighbours living near an empty property which is causing them concern, particularly properties which have been empty for 12 months or more.
The SEHP, which is supporting the initiative, is run by housing charity Shelter Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government.
Councillor Sandra Macdonald, Aberdeen City Council housing spokesperson, said: “This is one of several initiatives we have to help boost the supply of housing for those seeking to buy or rent and will help improve the affordability of the entire housing market through increased supply.
“We are building 2,000 new council homes across the city and we are working closely with partners such as housing associations to increase the supply of affordable homes. As a council, we have also innovated to improve processes for re-letting vacant council houses.
“With a continued high demand for affordable homes, it makes sense for us to intervene to offer advice and support to help bring as many of these empty properties back into use as quickly as possible.”
Shaheena Din, SEHP national manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome Aberdeen into the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership. We support a network of specialist empty homes officers working right across Scotland and while there will be issues particular to Aberdeen’s local housing market there will be opportunities to introduce solutions that have worked elsewhere. We know that having a specialist member of staff dedicated to supporting owners, neighbours and community groups to tackling empty homes is the most effective way forward.”