Concern about becoming a landlord is the main reason why 27,000 homes in Scotland are left empty for long periods of time, new research shows.
The study by Shelter Scotland found that some of the primary reasons why around £4.5bn worth of privately-owned homes are left empty for six months or more are because people want to avoid the responsibilities that being a landlord brings, along with waiting for property prices to increase in order to sell.
Some owners of vacant homes also confessed that they had an emotional attachment to their empty properties and found it hard to let go of them.
The data, compiled from calls made during the first year of the free empty homes helpline, suggests that many of Scotland’s 27,000 long-term empty homes could be brought back into use with the right advice and support for owners and communities, helping to alleviate the widening supply-demand imbalance across many parts of the country.
“While 27,000 long term empty homes lay empty across Scotland there are 150,000 families and individuals on waiting lists for a home. Making use of the existing housing stock makes both social and economic sense and whilst empty homes alone won't solve Scotland's housing crisis, they can be part of the solution,” said Kristen Hubert from the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.
Since its launch in 2010 the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership has helped councils and others to bring back into use more than 1,750 homes across the country.
“One year on from the launch of the empty homes helpline, we have helped hundreds of owners to start the process of bringing their properties back into use, either for themselves or others in need of a home,” Humber added.
It is estimated that the cost of refurbishing an empty home ranges from £6,000-£25,000.