Empty Homes

Empty Homes

The Local Housing Strategy identifies a key action to bring empty properties in Argyll and Bute back into use. With limited resources for new development, we have to make the most effective use of existing stock. This will not only help address housing need and demand but help regenerate and support sustainable communities. 

Advice for Owners & Prospective Purchasers or Tenants

Argyll and Bute Council’s Empty Homes Officer can provide information, advice and assistance on a wide range of issues:  

  • Property Condition
  • Financial Assistance
  • Legal Advice
  • Renting your property
  • Selling your property
  • Sweat Equity Model - for owners who want to retain ownership of their property but cant afford repairs and can find a tenant willing to undertake works for low/no rent period
  • Matchmaker service - Matching those wanting to sell or let empty homes and those wanting to purchase or rent them

Shelter Scotland estimates “an empty house can cost an owner over £7000 per annum.  That includes the cost of council tax, minimal security and lost potential rental”.

There are significant benefits to owners and local communities by bringing empty homes back into use:

  • cost benefits to the owner if they rent or sell;
  • condition of a property wont deteriorate as quickly if occupied;
  • the outlook of a neighbourhood can improve reflecting on local house prices;
  • the local economy benefits;
  • social, education and transport amenities are utilised minimising the risk of losing services, particularly in rural areas;
  • the property will be providing accommodation for someone in housing need. 

If you require any further information on bringing an empty property back into use please contact our Empty Homes Officer  

 Shelter Scotland is also a good source of information for owners of empty homes.

Empty Homes Grant and Loan Funding

Argyll and Bute Council has discretionary empty homes grant and loans to support owners of long-term empty properties to bring homes back into use as affordable housing.

There is a 3 tier process to apply for empty homes grant or loan funding:

  1. Read the Empty Homes Grant and Loan Information booklet.  If you agree to the terms and conditions of funding and would like to find out if your property is suitable, complete the Empty Homes Questionnaire. You can also contact the Empty Homes Officer to discuss.
  2. Following discussion with the Empty Homes Officer if your property is identified as being suitable, you will be asked to complete a pre-application form. This will then be assessed and the Empty Homes Officer and you will be notified of the outcome of your pre-application in writing.
  3. If the pre-application is approved, you will be asked to complete a formal application and provide supporting documents as required. You will be notified of the outcome of your formal application in writing and if appropriate an offer of grant and/or loan funding will be made.

Renovating Empty Homes 

VAT Discounts

Depending how long your property has been registered empty, renovation or alteration works carried out by a VAT registered trader may be eligible for a reduced VAT rate.  Please contact the Empty Homes Officer to find out more.

Builder Merchant Discounts

There are some suppliers who are able to offer preferential rates to empty home owners undertaking works to bring them back into use. Please contact Empty Homes Officer who can provide more details and make a referral for you.

If you are a local builder/supplier in the Argyll and Bute area and would like to participate in the scheme, please do not hesitate to contact Empty Homes Officer.

Matchmaking Service 

Depending on individual circumstances, sometimes the only or best option is for owners to sell their empty property regardless of its condition.  

The Empty Homes Matchmaker Scheme is a free service which aims to match empty home owners who are selling their property, with people who are looking to buy an empty home in the area.  The Empty Homes Officer will alert both parties when there is a 'match' between an empty home for sale and a buyer's requirements.

Selling an empty home

If you are the owner of an empty property and want to register for the scheme, please complete seller registration form and return to the Empty Homes Officer.

Seller Registration Form

Buying an empty home

If you are interested in purchasing an empty home in the Argyll and Bute area, please complete registration form and return to Empty Homes Officer.

Buyer Registration Form

Please note that the Empty Homes Matchmaker Scheme is not an estate agency, and all negotiations and sales processes take place between the seller and buyer. We recommend that anyone who is seeking to sell their property obtains independent professional valuation and legal advice.

Council Tax

Under The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 (SSI 2013/45), with effect from 1 April 2014, properties that have been unoccupied for a period of two years or more will not be entitled to any discount of council tax and instead will be subject to an increase to their council tax charge by 100%.  Properties unoccupied for less than two years but more than one year will also be subject to the double council tax unless they are being actively marketed for sale or let at appropriate conditions. Read further information about council tax.

Report an Empty House

Any individual, both residents and visitors to the area, can report an empty property. 

Please contact our Empty Homes Officer with the details,

Kelly Ferns
Empty Homes Officer
Argyll and Bute Council
Dolphin Hall
Manse Avenue
Dunoon
PA23 8DQ
Tel: 01369 708672
Email: Kelly.ferns@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Alternatively you can report empty homes through the Shelter Scotland website.