Housing in Glasgow: More than 2,600 homes empty in Glasgow over the past six months

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More than 2,600 homes in Glasgow have been empty for over six months, figures show, amid a housing emergency in the city.

Glasgow City Council is working to reduce the number of vacant properties across the city, with a number of compulsory purchases under way.

Council tax records showed that, at the end of February this year, there were 2,641 homes which had been empty for over six months. Of these, 1652 had been vacant for over one year.

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The council declared a housing emergency in November, with unprecedented pressure on homeless services and a shortage of social housing.

Tenements in Glasgow Tenements in Glasgow
Tenements in Glasgow

The latest figures are included in an update to councillors, which also revealed between April 1, 2023, and March 31 this year, 579 empty homes were brought back into use.

And 34 compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) have been completed across the city, with the council partnering with housing associations to buy empty properties. Another 31 CPOs are ongoing.

Compulsory sales orders (CSOs) — which could force owners to sell if they don’t use a property — could be “the solution for up to 50 per cent of the long-term empty homes” in Glasgow, officials have estimated.

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However, while the Scottish Government has said CSOs are “still under consideration”, there are “no timescales”, the report adds.

Councils can from this month double the amount of council tax paid on second homes. Glasgow has not chosen to implement this policy yet.

At the end of February, there were 442 recorded second homes in Glasgow. A second home is any property that is not used as someone’s main residence but is occupied for at least 25 days in a year.

Officials are “investigating the practicality” of introducing grants to owners for bringing homes back into use.

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Letters have also been sent to owners of empty buildings, such as offices, in the city centre, as the council looks to encourage them to bring their properties back into use.

A review of long-term empty properties owned by housing associations found the number had “substantially reduced” to 462 by March 19. The report states over 60 per cent of these (295) are currently undergoing repairs.

When the council set a budget for 2024 to 2025 in February, it included funding to appoint a strategic acquisitions officer for two years.

This role is expected to involve establishing a working group with “key partners” to “bring empty properties back into use for the prevention of homelessness.” There will be a focus on meeting the needs of other priority groups, such as larger families.

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