Council moves to free up empty homes for 4,000 on housing list

A Dumfries and Galloway Council policy that aims to help address the housing problem in the region by bringing empty properties back into the housing stock will be presented to councillors next week.

The Scottish Government recently brought forward regulations to allow Scottish councils to increase council tax charges on certain properties that have been unoccupied for more than 12 months.

Next week, members of the council’s Policy and Resources committee will be asked to approve proposals on how the authority will implement the Scottish Government regulations locally.

In order to address the problem of long-term empty properties, the council will be proposing to introduce an increased council tax levy of 200% on these properties.

Currently, the council estimates that there are 682 long-term properties in Dumfries and Galloway that this would apply to. However, the council says it recognises that not all property owners will currently be in the same circumstances, so the authority will be asked to approve a list of exemption criteria.

That will include properties that have been inherited and are still empty will be granted a further 12 months relief; applications being made or recently granted for planning permission; recently purchased properties in need of repair; properties being marketing for sale and has been unoccupied for more than two years andowners in receipt of housing benefit or council tax reduction on their own residence.

The region currently has more than 4,000 people on the housing waiting list.

For full details of the proposals, see www.dumgal.gov.uk.