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 £150,000 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 or sold at the open market shared equity ceiling threshold to meet loan conditions.
Scotland currently has 40,000 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
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.
Along with the loan other incentives are available such as
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 07747532987 to have the forms posted out to you.
Help to Rent West Dunbartonshire is the council’s updated private rented sector access scheme, sometimes referred to as a “rent deposit guarantee scheme”. The purpose of the scheme is to assist in making the private rented sector a viable option for households across West Dunbartonshire.
The main role of Help to Rent West Dunbartonshire is to help a prospective private tenant with a deposit they may require. This could be in the form of a guarantee or a physical deposit, depending on the circumstances of both the tenant and landlord. West Dunbartonshire Council Help to Rent is a flexible scheme taking into account an individual’s circumstances.
If you are in housing need and would like further information please contact the Housing Options and Homeless Team on 01389 776400 who will put you in touch with a duty caseworker. Alternatively you can email the team at to HousingOptionsHomelessness@west-dunbarton.gov.uk. You can contact the team on the number above from 09:00am - 16:30pm Monday to Thursday and 09.00am – 15.30pm on a Friday.
If you are a landlord and you have a property that you would like to let through the Help to Rent scheme you will find more information on the Help to Rent pages or you can contact your local Officer on 07747 532 987
Please see attached link to read West Dunbartonshire Councils Empty Homes Strategy which sets out the Councils strategic response to bringing empty homes in the private sector back into use.
Council Tax Discretion – the Empty Homes Strategy mentions that existing and new owners of long-term empty homes may be eligible for Council Tax discretion. Please note that Council took the decision to remove the discretionary element from the increased Council Tax levy from 1 April 2023.