Empty homes scheme tackles housing shortage

Homes brought back to life

Empty homes sept 2017

A scheme to tackle the scourge of empty homes is continuing to go from strength to strength.

The council has now brought 88 such properties back into use for council tenants to rent in towns and villages across the authority area.

Over £5 million has been spent since the scheme was started in 2013. The scheme involves the council buying long term privately owned empty houses and flats, refurbishing them and renting them out to tenants.

The homes are identified in areas where the council has a need for additional housing or where the purchase of a property will enable the council to take complete ownership of blocks of flats making communal repairs much easier to complete.

Catriona Arbuckle, Empty Homes Officer explained: "The scheme has been a real success so far and we've had some really positive feedback from local people, elected members and our tenants.

"There are a number of vacant private properties which are often in serious disrepair which cause concerns within our communities. Wherever possible, and if they are in areas of high council house demand, we try to engage with owners and see if they would be interested in the council buying back their property.

"With a budget of £1 million per year, the scheme has had some great successes and can make a real difference to streets and towns across North Lanarkshire. In addition, our help and advice to homeowners service has also helped bring a further 51 properties back into use and remaining in private ownership."

The properties considered for buy back must be empty and meet at least one of the specific criteria:

  • there is an identified need for the type and size of property; 
  • the purchase of the property would give the council complete ownership of a block and allow major common works to proceed; or
  • to meet the particular needs of a household which cannot be met from within the existing council stock.

Owners of empty properties interested in the scheme should call the Private Sector Housing team on 01698 274105. More information on the Scheme of Assistance for home owners and the Empty Homes Purchase Scheme is available on the council website.

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