Empty Glasgow flats in ‘state of disrepair’ could be bought by council
Two of Glasgow’s empty flats describes as being in a “state of disrepair” are set to be bought by Glasgow City Council and brought back into use by two local housing associations.
Properties on Clifford Street, Cessnock, and Westmoreland Street, Govanhill, could be compulsorily purchased as part of work to address the problem of long-term vacant homes. Councillors will be asked to approve the move on January 13.
A council report states the proposal would “enable an increase in affordable housing supply” and “ensure the future maintenance of these pre-1919 tenemental blocks”.
Officers are targeting Flat G/02, 26 Clifford Street, which would be taken over by Govan Housing Association, and Flat 2/1, 72 Westmoreland Street, where Govanhill Housing Association would take control.
Both properties have been identified on the council tax register as long-term empty homes, Glasgow Live reports.
The report to councillors reads: “The properties are priorities for intervention as they are lying in a state of disrepair, causing environmental blight in the local area, and/or hindering repair and maintenance of the blocks.”
The Clifford Street flat has been empty for around 14 years and council officers report that family members have been traced but have confirmed they “do not wish to pursue their interest in the property”.
Significant repairs to the tenement have been needed, with other owners, supported by the council, contributing, and officers have said the empty property “puts at risk the future maintenance of the block”.
The Westmoreland Street property has been empty since November 2018 after a closing order was served in 2016 as the flat failed “to meet a tolerable standard”. No repairs have been carried out since the order was served, but the council secured the flat in November 2018 to “prevent illegal occupation”.
Govanhill Housing Association offered to buy the flat on a voluntary basis, however, the owner refused to sell. The landlord was removed from the private landlord register in June 2012 and the property is currently unregistered.
The owners of both flats will continue to be given the chance to sell to the housing associations on a voluntary basis before the compulsory purchase goes through.
A statement for the reasons behind pursuing compulsory purchases will be sent to Scottish Ministers for consideration.
Both housing associations intend to carry out repairs and bring the homes into use as social housing. Funding for the purchases will be made available through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, a Scottish Government fund.