Glasgow brings 1,700 empty properties back to life
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Glasgow City Council has brought more than 1,700 long-term empty homes back into use over the past five years.

The Scottish local authority says this is in large part thanks to its Empty Homes Strategy, introduced in April 2019, which included an annual target of 200-250 vacant properties returned to productive use across the city.

The strategy represents a significant economic gain for the council, which points out it costs between £6,000 and £25,000 to renovate an empty property, compared to an estimated average cost of £200,000 to build a new home.

Success is also due in part to a team of three empty homes officers, plus a comprehensive database of properties and a website that provides advice for owners of vacant homes. The council says the site has also made the process of reporting empties easier.

Cllr Kenny McLean, convenor for housing at Glasgow City Council, said: “Glasgow’s Empty Homes Strategy has been an outstanding success, bringing over 1,700 homes back to life for people and families, and playing an important role in increasing the housing supply in the city. There is enormous demand for homes in Glasgow, and programmes such as this help increase the housing supply to meet some of that need.”

The local authority is now looking at bringing as many as possible of the city’s current total of 2,641 long term-empty homes back into use. Key to this will be the council’s ongoing Local Housing Strategy, which has a target of 1,800 empty homes re-occupied between 2023 and 2028. 

Last month the authority also suggested the Scottish government should give councils powers to enforce compulsory sales orders (CSOs) of neglected empty homes if owners refused to invest in or repair them.

Pointing out that the city had declared a “Housing emergency” in 2023, Glasgow Council’s Labour group deputy leader, Cllr Soryia Siddique, said: “If [that] announcement is to be any more than empty rhetoric, the council must now publicly insist that the Scottish Government act on CSOs before the end of this calendar year.”

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