Local authority and homeowners survey launched as Empty Homes Audit begins

Local authority and homeowners survey launched as Empty Homes Audit begins

The Scottish Government has appointed Indigo House to undertake an independent Empty Homes Audit.

The consultants are working with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership and engaging with local authorities, wider stakeholders and individual empty homeowners to gather evidence on the scale of the problem, effectiveness of current interventions and to seek views to help shape future policy, and any future funding schemes.

The audit involves four strands of research activity: an evidence review; two quantitative surveys of local authorities and empty homeowners; qualitative research with local authorities, relevant wider stakeholders and empty homeowners; and a consideration of value for money aspects.

The research will be completed by mid-June 2023 and published by the Scottish Government later in 2023.

Housing secretary Shona Robison said: “No home should be empty without good reason. Tackling empty homes and returning them to use as warm, safe and secure housing is a priority for the Scottish Government.

“This research provides an important opportunity for local authorities and empty homeowners to give their views on the interventions needed to reduce the number of empty homes.”

Tackling empty homes is a priority for the Scottish Government. Its Housing to 2040 strategy sets out how it aims to deliver on its ambition for everyone to have a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to live. The strategy highlights the importance of making the best use of existing stock with no homes left empty without good reason.

Anna Evans, director of Indigo House, said: “This is an important piece of research which will provide important insights with implications for many areas of housing policy and practice in a period where the pressure on access to housing is increasingly difficult.

“We have recently launched a survey of local authorities and empty homes owners which will provide critical data on understanding how long-term empty homes can be reduced. We’re asking local authorities, wider stakeholders and empty homeowners for their opinion of what works, and what doesn’t in bringing empty homes back into use. All the survey data will be reported anonymously to give comfort to participants that they can be open and honest on what needs to change to bring more empty homes back into use.”

“We know that all local authorities hold valuable knowledge and experience relating to empty homes and the research team thanks all colleagues in advance for contributing to this important study.”

Shaheena Din, the national project manager for the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “It’s important to build on the evidence and approaches that we have in Scotland, and I hope that this survey will be seen as an opportunity for Empty Homes Officers to support and contribute to research that can help tackle the issues caused by empty homes.”

The research team leader is Anna Evans who can be contacted at anna.evans@indigohousegroup.com. The Scottish Government client policy lead is Fiona Hepburn who can be reached at Fiona.Hepburn@gov.scot for further information.

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