The majority of Scots recognise the negative issues associated with long-term empty properties and agree that owners should be encouraged to bring them back into use, according to research published last week.

A survey carried out by pollster YouGov for the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) found that almost 70 per cent of Scots recognise that empty homes have an adverse effect on the wider supply of housing.

Even so, 43% said they wouldn’t report an empty home if they noticed one in their local area, while 15% weren’t sure who they would report it to.

Shaheena Din, national manager for SEHP, told Scottish Housing News: “We want to make it easier for people to do something about the issue by reporting empty property to their local council or our Empty Homes Advice Service. We have a proven track record of giving owners and others the support they need to make these properties homes once again.”

Scotland currently has more than 39,000 long-term empty homes and owners can face bills up to 200% of their council tax if they are deemed to be not doing enough to bring their properties back into use.

Ms Din added: “At the moment we’re working with empty homes officers in 20 out of Scotland’s 32 councils.

“It’s often life events like inheritance or moving away for work that creates an empty home and in our experience many owners are willing to take action if given a bit of help. That’s why we’re keen to work with more councils to set up their own services.”

The poll also found that half of adults in Scotland felt that private homeowners should not be allowed to let a residential property sit empty.  

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is run by Shelter Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government.

It supports a network of empty homes officers working in Scottish councils who, during the past year, have brought more than 1,120 properties back into use.