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A day in the life of an empty homes adviser


 My name is Cat and I am the empty homes adviser with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP). We work with the core aim of encouraging Scotland’s empty homes back into use. There are not a lot of people out there who can call themselves empty homes advisers, it’s pretty niche! As an empty homes adviser, I work Monday to Friday, providing support and answering questions from anyone who contacts us on our advice service. The advice service is open to empty property owners, neighbours, practitioners and anyone interested or curious about empty homes work. 

So, ever wondered what an empty homes adviser actually does, or were too afraid to ask? Well, my typical day starts with a cup of tea. I start reviewing what messages we’ve received in our inbox and checking if any calls have come in since the day before. Working on the advice service, we aim to respond to all new enquiries within one working day, so it’s important to keep on top of any new communications. Just think- your journey to bring an empty home back into use could be underway in just one day! 

As an empty home owner, neighbour, or person with interest, when you first contact the advice service, I’ll ask for some information about you and the empty home. This will help me to understand the situation, so that I can provide the advice best suited to your case. I understand that some cases might be difficult, emotional, or frustrating, but I am always happy to lend an ear. In empty homes work, every case is different, and that’s what makes my role so varied and enjoyable. Sometimes, I’m faced with a question or situation which I have not come across before– I see this as an opportunity to learn something new. So, if you have, or are aware of an empty home, but you think the circumstances are too complicated or lengthy, please don’t hold off contacting us! 

I’ll be able to listen, and if I can’t provide advice straight away, then I will be able to discuss it with my colleagues, research and get back to you. At SEHP, we work as a team, and with complex cases we normally collaborate, to come up with the best solution to your case. 

In between handling enquiries, or if I’m on top of all emails, this is when I dedicate time to improve my knowledge of empty homes; this might be through reading relevant articles, researching an aspect of empty homes, or occasionally, taking part in a course. This is another thing that I really enjoy about this job- I can dedicate time to my own learning and understanding, which in turn, helps me provide the best advice. 

A recent case that came to my attention concerned an empty home owner who had bought an derelict house at auction but had ran into difficulty in the renovations process. They had intended to renovate the empty home, and it was hoped to be their main residence. However, some unfortunate circumstances had led to the owner running out of money to complete the works. They were now stuck, the home was still uninhabitable, and they had contacted us for advice. I was able to liaise with the owner, build a rapport and offer advice over several months. Despite having no income, and insufficient funds to complete the work, I was able to talk through different options and help the owner realise a way forward; and the home is in the process of being brought back into use. 

Do you own an empty home that you are unsure what to do with, or maybe you’re experiencing barriers in bringing it back into use? Perhaps you’re holding off doing anything about your empty home because you are unsure where to turn, or who could provide help? If this sounds like you, contact me today to see what options might be available for your empty home. 

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 0344 515 1941