Empty Homes

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 5 September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ross Greer Ross Greer Green

What will the Scottish Government do about the 39,100 empty homes across Scotland, now that it has abandoned its manifesto commitment to introduce compulsory sale orders?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

As Kevin Stewart outlined at committee this week, given the constraints on the legislative programme space and, particularly, given the potential implications of Brexit, unfortunately we do not, at this stage, expect to be in a position to progress our compulsory sale order power in this parliamentary session. However, we remain committed to introducing that power for local authorities. There have been a number of issues and challenges with the current proposals that we have to think through a bit more—not least, in order to ensure that any proposal is compatible with the European convention on human rights.

Local authorities have other options, of course. Many local authorities already use their compulsory purchase order powers to tackle empty homes. I think that over the past three years, 13 CPOs have been submitted under housing legislation, and all 13 have been approved. Nine involved compulsory acquisition of empty homes, in some form.

We will continue to work closely with the Scottish empty homes partnership to support authorities to use their existing powers, as we continue to plan to introduce the new powers to which we previously committed.