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Meeting our strategic objectives – 2 – Encouraging councils to mainstream empty homes work

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, in partnership with COSLA and ALACHO, launched our Why Empty Homes Matter information pack at our 2022 annual conference.

The pack makes the case for mainstreaming empty homes work by showing how bringing empty homes back to use can contribute to delivering Housing to 2040’s four-part plan of: More homes at the heart of great places; Affordability and choice; Affordable warmth and zero emissions homes, and; Improving the quality of all homes.

Bringing empty homes back into use can help meet the demand for affordable homes in our most densely populated towns and cities. It can also help to revive and revitalise town centres, villages and rural communities, helping to once more make them great places that people are proud to call home.

By bringing empty homes back to use, alongside delivering on the government’s ambitious commitment to provide an additional 110,000 affordable homes over the next ten years, of which 70% must be social homes, local authorities can make full use of the housing resources at their disposal. This will ensure that there is the widest possible range of types and tenures of homes available to all, irrespective of which part of the country or council they live in.

Furthermore, bringing empty homes back in to use can help drive down the carbon emissions caused by housing and housing construction. Where a home is retrofitted to improve energy performance, it can also help to drive down the cost of heating and reduce operational carbon emissions.

Every empty home has been a home for someone in the past and could potentially be a home for someone again in the future. By working to support renovation of suitable empty homes and returning them back to use, local authorities can help to breathe new life into old homes, improving the quality of housing stock and improving the quality of life in the communities with empty stock.

To realise the potential of empty homes, we believe that empty homes should be an active component of housing strategies, and all local authorities should have a standalone Empty Homes Strategy in much the same way as they have a Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) to demonstrate how they will use empty homes to address housing needs and other issues. 

In our annual survey, 8 respondents reported that their local authority had an empty homes strategy, but only 3 of these reported that they are currently easily accessible on the local authority website.

We hope that Why Empty Homes Matter will be a useful resource for everyone involved in housing strategy and will lead to more active empty homes strategies across the country.

The next pages of this report looks at examples of how empty homes work has been mainstreamed by local authorities and the contribution this is making to delivering their housing priorities.

Read the full report at –

Why Empty Homes Matter Full Report