Aberdeen empty homes total triples in four years
The number of empty homes in Aberdeen has almost tripled in the last four years.
According to the latest numbers, a total of 1,919 properties in Aberdeen have been empty for at least 12 months.
New information obtained by The Press and Journal has revealed that over half of these are in the A or B council tax bands. At the same time, the highest three bands – F, G and H – make up just 9% of the total.
The new data has highlighted a 170% rise on the number of empty properties in Aberdeen since 2015.
The most common reason for a home to be empty for a significant period of time is the death of its owner, but Shelter Scotland has said the long-lasting impact of the oil-price drop on the northeast will also have played a factor in the rise of empty homes in the city.
Since 2010, Shelter Scotland has helped bring around 40,000 houses back into use under the Scottish Government-funded Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP). In 2019, the organisation began working with Aberdeen City Council on a new project to match prospective tenants with some of these empty homes.
Sandra Macdonald, Aberdeen Council’s housing spokeswoman, said: “Although the number of empty homes in the city continues to rise, this service, launched in early 2019 as part of a wider partnership, has provided advice and support to private owners to allow empty homes to be put to good use once again.
“The work of our empty homes officer in linking owners of suitable empty properties with suitable tenants has been very well received. There is also a need to build new homes and the council is doing that across the city. At the same time using empty homes to help meet housing supply and improve neighbourhoods has made a real difference.”
Jackie Dunbar, the SNP Group’s housing spokeswoman, added: “It doesn’t matter who these properties are owned by, it is scandalous that the number of empty homes has tripled given the number of people on housing waiting lists.”
Shaheena Din, SEHP national manager, said: “Research has shown that homes become empty due to life circumstances such as the death of an owner, but often remain empty due to the local economic features in an area.
“Aberdeen has seen a sharp economic downturn affect the number of empty homes in the city but its response to it has been exemplary. With part-funding and support from the SEHP, the council has launched an empty homes service which provides support to the owners.
“The council has engaged with partners across the city to see how bringing homes back into use can help to meet affordable housing supply challenges.”