A NEW matchmaking service is being launched this week to introduce buyers and sellers of empty properties, in a bid to bring some of Scotland’s empty homes back into use.
According to Shelter Scotland, which runs the Scottish Government funded Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, there are 23,000 long-term private empty homes across Scotland. It is hoped the new Homes Again Matchmaker service, run by local authorities with the help of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, could help transform many of those back into homes for families and individuals who need them.
The initiative aims to introduce buyers looking for an investment or renovation opportunity, with those looking to sell empty properties.
The Matchmaker service is being launched by a consortium of councils including East Lothian, West Lothian, Scottish Borders and Fife, where empty homes officers are in place to help owners and potential buyers. There is potential to expand the service across Scotland where councils have employed empty homes officers.
According to Shelter Scotland participating local authorities will incorporate the Matchmaker service into existing work to bring empty homes back into use.
Kristen Hubert, Shelter Scotland’s empty homes co-ordinator, said:
“This is a great, low cost way for councils to help potential buyers and sellers identify each other and hopefully find solutions to Scotland’s empty homes problem.
“There are many reasons why a home might be left empty. Owners can have sentimental attachment to it or they don’t have the finances, the time or the skills to complete their plans for the property, or they simply can’t find a buyer through conventional routes.
“The Matchmaker Service allows owners to dip their toe in the water of selling their property, reassuring them that there are developers and other interested buyers out there, before taking the next step to sell their property.
“With 156,000 families and individuals on housing waiting lists, this service is an additional step in the right direction towards bringing Scotland’s 23,000 empty homes back into use.”
Housing Minister, Keith Brown, said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to tackling empty homes. That is why we are funding the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.
“I welcome this new initiative and hope it is successful in helping to bring more empty homes back into use.”
Kristen Hubert urged councils to make the most of the new service, saying that often identifying owners is the first step for local authorities in bringing empty homes back in to use. It is hoped the Matchmaker service will encourage owners to come forward to seek help from empty homes officers working for the council, who will act to make suitable introductions with potential buyers.
Local authorities will not be part of negotiations or legal processes associated with the purchasing of an empty home.
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
2. The Partnership Advisory Board includes:
a. Scottish Government
c. Shelter Scotland
d. Scottish Housing Best Value Network
e. Scottish Rural and Property Business Association
f. Historic Scotland
g. Rural Housing Service
3. The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership provides good practice to councils and their partners through the production of guides, facilitation of seminars and training, and one to one consultancy and advice. The Partnership also has a role in making recommendations to government where barriers to private sector empty homes work in Scotland are identified.
4. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
5. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Shelter Scotland