SURF’s 2016 manifesto consultations indicated broad support among the regeneration community of the work of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which aims to bring privately owned properties vacant for more than six months back into use as housing.

Here, Frances Snee provides an update of the Partnership’s Advice Service, which launched this time last year:

We’ve recently celebrated the first anniversary of Scottish Empty Homes Partnership’s Empty Homes Advice Service.  The months have flown by and reports are steadily increasing.

When I started, I shadowed some of our experienced team. I visited Allyson, Stirling / Falkirk shared service Empty Homes Officer. As we drove around Allyson pointed out all the properties she’d worked on as we passed them.

This villa in Perth is among the properties the Partnership has brought back into use

This villa in Perth is among the properties the Partnership has brought back into use

It’s all about people, not buildings she told me. She multi tasked the whole day, fitting calls in between site visits and sharing her knowledge and experience. I also visited the team in Perth and Kinross and met the new owners of a stripped down shell who were getting building consents for the renovation and planning to let out the flat after years empty. Later we walked round visiting projects in progress, including an impressive sandstone lower flat.

The Empty Homes Advice Service provides advice for owners, neighbours and organisations.  I get lots of calls from neighbours who see empty properties every day and are glad to hear there’s something they can do about it. Many of them say, “that would make a great family house, I know there are lots of people who need a decent home.” For some it goes much deeper because they’re right next door or even in the same building. The problems triggered by the empty property affects their home and often their health, so it’s great to be able to help.

For further information on the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, visit:

Frances works Mon-Thurs and can be contacted on 0344 515 1941, &