Bringing empty homes back into use
The Empty Homes initiative which has been named Homes Again West-Dunbartonshire is looking at bringing empty homes in the private sector back into use. We are targeting properties that have been empty over 6 months. The initiative is in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government set aside a 4m national empty homes loan fund from which we have been awarded £300,000 to help assist empty homeowners in bringing their properties back into use. These properties must then be used for affordable housing for a 5 year period to meet loan conditions.
Scotland currently has 34,000 long term empty homes in the private sector. Long term empties are classed as any property that has been empty for 6 months or more. Long term empty properties can have a detrimental effect on the community with issues such as fly tipping, vandalism and loss of community well being. An empty home can reduce surrounding homes values by up to 18%. Councils are also losing out on revenue from council tax.
Therefore the empty homes problem is an issue that needs addressing. Through empty homes work councils can have an added boost to their housing supply, communities can be regenerated and town centres can be renewed
Under One Roof
If you are an owner or factor of a property in a communal block and need advice on repairs or maintenance you can access this new website.
It highlights owners’ rights and responsibilities for maintaining their building and provides useful tips on working with other neighbours over communal repairs.
Incentives for owner
Along with the loan other incentives are available such as
- the matchmaker scheme
- rent deposit guarantee scheme
- vat reductions on works on property that have been empty over a certain period of time
- potential discounts from participating builders merchants
Home owner packs are also available with details on, how to rent your property, how to sell your property, how to renovate.
The main issue that owners of empty homes seem to be having is that properties are being stuck on the market. Other councils have adopted a 'matchmaker scheme' to help tackle such problems. The Property Matchmaker Scheme is in essence a 'dating agency' for empty homes: it aims to match empty property home owners who would like to sell their property with people who want to buy an empty property. The Matchmaker scheme is currently successfully running across five local authority areas.
Buyer and Seller Registration forms can be completed and submitted online or downloaded below; you simply complete the forms and either email or post them back to the address at the bottom of the forms. Alternatively you can contact your empty homes officer on 01389 737576 to have the forms posted out to you.
Buyer Registration Form
- Complete Buyer Registration Online Form
- Download Buyer Registration Form - word format
- Download Buyer Registration Form - pdf format
Owner Registration Form
- Complete Owner Registration Form online
- Download Owner Registration Form - word format
- Download Owner Registration Form - pdf format
West Dunbartonshire Council operate a Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme. This scheme has been in operation since 2005 and has helped many households in need of housing.
The Deposit Guarantee Scheme supports people that are in housing need by allowing them to access private rented accommodation.
- works with landlords and letting agents to provide access to quality, privately rented accommodation across West Dunbartonshire.
- provides a written guarantee instead of a cash deposit to landlords.
- the council guarantees the landlord a deposit should any damage, etc. occur to the property, while at the same time the tenant pays the deposit up on a monthly basis.
The initial tenancy agreement is for six months but can be extended provided both parties are happy to do so.
If you are in housing need and would like further information, or if you are a landlord and you have a property that you would let through this scheme then contact your local Officer on the following number
- Clydebank - 0141 562 8865
- Dumbarton - 01389 772 004
Please see attached link to read West Dunbartonshire Councils first Empty Homes Strategy which sets out the Councils strategic response to bringing empty homes in the private sector back into use.