Dundee City Council has been asked to consider bringing empty homes back to life, as part of its plan to tackle the city’s housing crisis.

Dundee City Council has been asked to consider bringing empty homes back to life, as part of its plan to tackle the city’s housing crisis.

The council recently announced a £6 million programme to address its housing problem, with a 7,700-person waiting list for council homes, along with 600 people who are registered as homeless.

But The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership has urged it to consider revamping its current 1,209 long-term empty homes as part of those plans, rather focusing solely on the building of new homes.

Shaheena Din, national project manager for Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: 

“Building new homes will be central to Dundee’s housing strategy, but diverting even a portion of the housing fund towards the city’s empty homes would be a cost-effective and fast-acting partial solution.”

However, Councillor Anne Rendall, convener of neighbourhood services at Dundee City Council, claimed finding the rightful owners of empty properties is a significant barrier to such a plan:

“We are trying to deal with it as best we can, but we can’t promise it would be as quick as people would like. If members of the public see an empty home they can report it to their councillor who can pass it onto the correct team, but it is not a quick thing to do and it can sometimes take years to get a hold of people.”

Din also urged the council to appoint a dedicated empty homes officer to focus on the issue:

“These clusters of empty homes demonstrate the need for Dundee City Council to reinstate an empty homes officer who can take a proactive approach to bringing these homes back into use.”

Councillor Rendall claimed the pandemic had forced the council to abandon its recruitment activity for the vacancy:

 “The council fully intended to recruit someone new but by the time we got round to it the pandemic had hit and we were not able to continue with that in the current circumstances.”

A council spokesman said:

“We work with owners of private property and landlords to try and prevent properties from becoming empty homes.

“The council is currently reviewing options on how to take our work on empty homes forward.”