Tackling Rural Empty Homes - Presentation

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Tackling Rural Empty Homes

Kristen Hubert. National Manager. We exist to promote and enable private sector empty homes . to be brought back into use.  . We are funded by the Scottish Government and . housed by Shelter Scotland..

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Tackling Rural Empty Homes

Presentation on theme: "Tackling Rural Empty Homes"— Presentation transcript:


Tackling Rural Empty Homes

Kristen HubertNational ManagerSlide2

We exist to promote and enable private sector empty homes

to be brought back into use. 

We are funded by the Scottish Government and

housed by Shelter Scotland.Slide3


Safety concerns

Loss of amenity & community wellbeing

Costs to owners; neighbours &local services

Wasted asset that could revitalise a rural community.Slide6

Time Empty: 2 years & 1 month

The main reason the property was empty was because the owner had rented the property out and after the last tenant left it fell into serious disrepair. The

Empty Homes Officer got in touch and gave

advice on renovation, VAT discounts

and builders merchants discounts

which helped the owner decide

to use a local builder to renovate the house.


owner was delighted with the completed renovation and his son has moved into the property. Now instead of the property being an eyesore in the community the family has the benefit of a fully insulated house with an efficient heating system and an upstairs extension.


As a result, the property was: Owner/family member occupied in Mar-15

Case study details supplied by Katrina Morrison, Vacant Property Support Assistant, Perth and Kinross Council Slide10

Empty since 2006


property is located in

a remote


settlement on Mull. The

Empty Homes Officer engaged with the new owner

of this property that had fallen into serious disrepair to

look at options to bring the house back into use.

The owner was keen from the start to ensure that they provided affordable housing and a sustainable property for new tenants. Due to the remote location and no social housing waiting lists to ascertain demand for rented housing, a marketing exercise was undertaken to identify if there would be anyone interested in renting on completion of works. This provided to be a worthwhile exercise and there was a lot of interest from potential tenants which provided the owner with the assurance that they would be able to secure a tenant on completion of works.

Due to the length of time the house had been empty the owners were eligible for reduced VAT rate of 5% which helped reduced renovation costs.



works were undertaken and the new tenant moved into the house in May 2015 and has expressed how happy she is with the property


Details provided by Kelly Ferns, Empty Homes Officer Argyll & Bute Council.Slide11

Training &

Best Practice

Empty Homes

Advice Service

Local Project Support

Shared Service Incubator Projects

Raising Awareness

Policy RecommendationsSlide14

Since the launch the Empty Homes Advice Service there have been over 250 enquiries including complaints about properties and requests for help from empty home owners.

Where a local service exists a referral is made.

Where a local service doesn’t exist the Empty Homes Adviser tries to pursue case work to demonstrate what is possible.Slide16

The owner had lived in the property



No routine maintenance.






enforced and elderly


rehoused with

a sheltered, council



prepared a case for CPO

in 2012

but this stalled and the case was left dormant for about 3 years


The Empty Homes Advisor was asked for help on this case from the new empty homes lead at the council.

The property

was now causing water ingress and damage to neighbours’ properties and causing significant reduction of amenity in

a high

demand housing area.

A number of

escalated complaints from neighbours and the LA was considering recommending CPO



established a positive working relationship with the


agreed regular contact and information



HA worked with


owner and the council officer to

promote his understanding of the current situation

by helping to arrange architects and builders quotes and go through the

range of options available to


Owner having difficulty making decisions so the EHA referred him to a local advocacy project for older people who provided him with the additional time required to help the owner make informed decisions.


a result of

these interventions,

the owner made a decision that selling the property prior to refurbishment would be his preferred outcome.


property exchanged in late Jan 2016. The new owner intends to renovate it for sale.


the owners to face up to the problems caused by his property and then to obtain realistic information about what the options were led to the owner being able to agree

a way forward. He is now being supported to integrate into the community.

Total engagement time approx. 6 months.Slide18

The council involved in this case is now considering developing their own empty homes service.Slide19

The Local Project Service aims to assist multi-unit empty homes projects to come to fruition.


Making connections

Funding & funding bids

Developing project plans

Sounding board & assistance from start to finish.

Local Projects ServiceSlide20

Who is the local projects service for?

Local authorities



Community Groups (doesn’t need to be multi-unit)

Social Enterprises

Any setting

Any empty private property intended for residential end use.Slide21

Current project

Dreadnought Hotel, Bathgate

Former hotel, empty for over 8 years

Joint project between Council and RSL

Made connections and provided ideas for use

Produced project plan

In the process of being acquired by the council and leased to RSL to let/manage the tenancies

8 units for affordable rent, out of one empty property, due in autumn 2016Slide22

Current project

Common Weal, Moray

Community group working principally in Forres

Intention to bring empty homes back into use in area where need is great and supply is not

Showed examples of previous, similar projects

Helped make connections to people with expertise who helped, including at local authority

Sought out potential sources of funding, and helped with funding applications

Properties due to come back into use summer 2016Slide23

Social Finance

One off bid funds

Rural Housing Fund

Council Loans & Grants

Shared Services FundingSlide24


, Argyll & ButeSlide25


Kristen Hubert 0344 515 2461


Empty Homes Advice Service

Local Projects Support

0344 515 1941 0344 515 2237