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Every Home Matters.

Scotland has a housing emergency. Our vision is that privately-owned empty homes do not remain empty for 12 months or more without good reason.

Our aims & objectives

Our aim is to support the Scottish Government's commitment to bringing empty homes back into use as affordable housing where possible. We will do this by meeting five objectives:

What we do

We are here to encourage local authorities to provide advice and assistance to owners at a local level. We know that more homes are brought back into use where an Empty Homes Officer can speak to an owner to understand why the property is empty and then offer tailored solutions to turn it into a home again.

Not all councils have an Empty Homes Service or a dedicated Empty Homes Officer. We want every council in Scotland to recognise the importance of our existing assets, and to proactively offer advice and assistance to people who are stressed or struggling to deal with an empty home. Where they don’t, our Advice Service provides information and support to owners directly so that no one has to deal with an empty home on their own.

You can find out here how our advice service has assisted owners, neighbours and those looking to take on an empty home.

How we can help


Long-term empty homes in Scotland. These are properties that have been empty for six months or longer and are liable for council tax.


Properties brought back to use in 2022/23, bringing the total brought back into use since commencement of SEHP to 9,014


The total number of long term empty homes that have been empty for more than 12 months.

Living in a community with a run-down or derelict house nearby is unpleasant. If you are aware of an empty home in your community, you can help by:

If your council does not have an Empty Homes Officer and you want help, you can:

  • Contact your local councillor either by letter or email - their contact details should be on your local council website or get in touch with the Advice Service for assistance
  • Contact your local councillor face to face - they hold regular drop-in 'surgeries' for the people they represent to raise issues with them
  • Arrange a specific meeting with community members

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by Shelter Scotland. We exist to encourage Scotland’s approximately 46,000 privately-owned long-term empty homes back into use. At a time of a housing emergency we know that every home matters.

The partnership was first formed in 2010, after the review of the private rented sector identified that empty homes can play an important part in meeting our housing challenges.

Common empty homes issues

Use the slider below to see the visual impact of empty homes.

External repairs

Before: Leaky gutters and roofs let in water that can cause mould and damp. Loose masonry can worsen over time and even break away. Broken windows and doors put the building at risk of being broken into.

After: If the property is unoccupied, carry out regular inspections and act quickly. Contact us today for more information on maintaining your unused property, access to discounts and assistance with repairs to make it a home again.

Internal repairs

Before: It can be hard to sell your property if your home is not attractive to a buyer. It might need as little as a coat of paint or maybe an entire renovation.

After: The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership can let you know if you qualify for merchants’ or VAT discounts as well as connect you with local advice and assistance to help with your project.

Garden Upkeep

Before: Overgrown grass and hedges, rubbish, fly-tipping and vandalism can indicate a property is empty as well as attract vermin. A badly kept garden is an eyesore and can affect the sense of pride that residents feel in their community.

After: Try to keep gardens tidy and free of rubbish. If you can’t maintain the garden yourself, consider whether friends, family or neighbours can help. Give neighbours your contact details so that they can let you know if there are problems. Contact us for more information on keeping your home safe and secure.

Loss of Value

Before: Empty properties in the community can reduce the kerb appeal of homes in the local area as well as affecting property values negatively.

After: If your home is empty and you want advice on bringing it back into use or if you live near an empty building and want more information on next steps then contact us.


Before: It costs between £8,000 and £10,000 a year to leave a property empty (based on cost of council tax, insurance, repairs and loss of rent). Councils in Scotland can charge up to 200% Council Tax on homes that have been empty for over a year.

After: Call the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership today for advice on how to minimise costs, appeal a council tax charge and get access to discounts. Consider how your property could make money for you by letting it out or selling it.

Difficulty with communal repairs

Before: Owners who can’t be contacted can make it difficult to carry out communal repairs. Neighbours might not know how to contact the missing owner and this can halt work, allowing maintenance issues to get worse.

After: Make sure the neighbours have your contact details and update them if they change. If you are a neighbour trying to find a missing owner, contact your council or the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Advice Line for support.