West Dunbartonshire councillors to discuss empty homes strategy

West_Dunbartonshire_CouncilWest Dunbartonshire Council will today discuss proposals to refresh its empty homes strategy in a bid to tackle the housing shortage in the area.

There are more than 400 empty private properties in West Dunbartonshire, according to council tax records, and more than 3,900 applicants on the council’s housing list.

The council’s housing and communities committee will today consider an updated Empty Homes Strategy for 2016-19, which states: “The Scottish Government’s review of the private rented sector identified the need for more focus on bringing empty homes back into use.

“Following this review, the Scottish Government funded a partnership with Shelter Scotland and a number of local authorities – including West Dunbartonshire Council – to work together with empty home owners to bring these properties back into use.

“There is an increasing amount of pressure on all councils to meet housing demand as a result of key issues such as an ageing population, lack of affordability and homelessness.

“Bringing empty homes back into use can help to ease this pressure by being able to be used as a realistic and effective housing option.”

West Dunbartonshire Council and Renfrewshire Council have, since August 2012, shared a permanent dedicated Empty Homes Officer (EHO) who has been responsible for bringing 90 empty properties back into use. A further 46 are on their way to coming back into use in West Dunbartonshire.

The report adds: “The Scottish Government launched an Empty Homes Loan Fund to provide loans to owners to help them renovate empty homes and make them available as affordable housing.

“Seventeen projects were approved for funding including West Dunbartonshire Council, which secured £150k.

“Take-up of the loan fund has been low.”

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