Bringing empty homes back into use should be a cornerstone of the post-pandemic recovery, a charity has said.
Shelter Scotland said progress has been made in making long-term empty properties liveable homes again, with 1412 being made available over the last year – a 25% increase from the previous period.
Working with the Scottish Government, the charity is trying to recover around 40,000 properties which have lain empty for six months or longer.
But it warned that progress could stall if local authorities do not make recovering empty homes a part of their strategy for economic recovery.
Shaheena Din, manager of the charity’s Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “I’m delighted that we have surpassed last year’s record.
“The partnership has demonstrated that, with the right support, long-term empty homes can be brought back into use and can play a key role in helping to meet the demand for housing in areas where there is a shortfall in affordable housing, and in reviving town centres and sustaining fragile communities.”
Ms Din said this was particularly good news at a time when the housing market faces significant challenges due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “The Scottish Government is proud to support the work of the Empty Homes Partnership.
“At a time when every home counts, it’s very encouraging to see thousands of previously disused privately owned homes being brought back into use thanks to the partnership’s efforts.
“We’re actively working with the partnership to help them maintain capacity in their network of empty homes officers to support people, communities and local economies as we move to recovery from Covid-19.
“The skills and expertise of empty homes officers will be invaluable in helping us face this unprecedented challenge.”