Empty homes

We want to increase the supply of housing for local individuals and families in Angus.

Empty homes cannot solve housing supply issues alone, but they can be part of a holistic solution to provide local affordable housing and to regenerate communities.

It is an owner’s responsibility to look after their property. However, if a home gets 'stuck' and is empty for a long time, then we may be able to help. Use the links below to find more information and advice.

The impact of empty homes

In some cases empty properties can have a detrimental impact on sustaining our neighbourhoods as vibrant and attractive places to live and work.

They can not only be defined as a wasted resource at a time when housing is in short supply, but can also cause a blight on our communities: attracting antisocial behaviour; encouraging damp and infestation through disrepair; and potentially lowering the value of neighbouring properties.

The benefits of returning properties into use

There are a number of positive reasons for owners to bring their property back into residential use, including:

  • to reduce overall costs of the property (Council Tax, insurance, maintenance)
  • to generate a regular rental income or capital sum if the property is sold
  • to reduce deterioration and avoid associated problems
  • to provide a suitable and safe home for a local individual or family.

Selling

Deciding on a selling agent

The important thing to remember is that the estate agent is there to work for you and sell your property. Do not be afraid to ask them plenty of questions prior to agreeing to sell with them and throughout the process.

Make sure that the agent has experience of selling property like yours – check there are properties similar to yours advertised in their window or online.

Take a look at the agent’s website – are the pictures well taken, and the descriptions all clear and relevant?

Always gain more than one valuation. Some agents may value your home higher than others. Gaining more than one valuation will help you to develop an understanding of the true market value of your property.

Marketing your property

A good agent will invest in marketing to ensure that they get the best possible price, while a poor agent may just wait for customers to approach them.

Always consider if the agent will use the internet to market your property – if so, do they use other sites apart from their own? You should always ask if they use any of the local or national property search engines. They are very important tools to help boost interest and viewings.

Will they also use newspapers (or property guides) – and if do which ones? Find out what local newspapers there are and if they will feature your property in them.

Always do your homework and take a look at the agent’s website. Are the photographs and text to a good standard? How easy is this website to navigate?

Attracting buyers

Do not underestimate the power of a photograph! These often persuade people to book viewings so please ensure that the agent has captured your property in the best light. If you are not happy with the photographs then you should always ask for them to be changed, they can make all the difference.

You should always try to create a lasting impression with viewers. You should attempt to make your property as presentable as possible.

Tips to create a good impression include:

  • tidying up the garden
  • decluttering your property (show the space not the furniture)
  • giving your walls a fresh lick of paint (neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger)
  • make any minor repairs that may be necessary.

Renting

If you are thinking of becoming a landlord, then you will need to make sure that your property is fit to be rented. A rented property must meet the repairing standard.

You will also need to apply to register as a landlord with Landlord Registration Scotland. The Landlord Registration system helps councils to monitor private landlords and ensure that they are suitable to let out property. Before any person or agency is registered, the council will have to check that the applicant is a fit and proper person to let property.

Renting Scotland

The Renting Scotland website (jointly funded by the Scottish Government) is an industry-wide information hub for both tenants and landlords in the private rented sector in Scotland. At this website you can find detailed information about a landlords legal requirements, with topics covered including:

  • Renting our property out - a guide covering the checks and responsibilities that you need to factor in
  • Starting a tenancy as a landlord - a step by step guide for renting your property out – what you need to do for every new tenancy
  • Tenancy deposit - all you need to know about deposits from what can be deducted from a deposit to the requirements of the tenancy deposit scheme
  • Dealing with disputes -  a guide to help you deal and avoid disputes;
  • Choosing a letting agent as a landlord - tips on choosing a letting agent if you have a property that you want to rent out in Scotland.

Finding a tenant

There are a number of ways you can find a tenant for your property:

  • Do it yourself - you can find a tenant yourself through advertising in a local paper, local shop advertising boards, hospital or education notice boards, or online via social media or dedicated selling and advertising pages.
  • Through a letting agency -  a lettings agent will be able to market your property, find a tenant, and deal with the contracts. If you wish they will also be able to manage the property on your behalf. Lettings companies will charge a fee for their services. Always shop around to find the correct agency that meets your needs, and please make sure they are a member of an appropriate accreditation authority (for example the Association of Residential Letting Agents or Landlord Accreditation Scotland).

Renovating

Identifying the work that needs to be done

Depending on the condition of the property, you may require a professional to assess exactly what works you should have carried out. If this is the case it may be beneficial to contact a local surveyor to arrange a visit. The surveyor will then be able to provide a detailed schedule of works.

Planning permission & building warrants

If you are making physical alterations to the property, you should check with the council’s planning and building standards services whether the works require permission. If consent is required, then we can give you advice you on submitting your application.

You may need to employ an architect or engineer to design and draw your proposals.

Costing the works

You should attempt to get at least three quotes for the work that you need to have carried out. This will give you a clear picture of the cost of the work and the opportunity to select the best contractor for you.

Selecting contractors and other professionals

The Angus Reputable Traders Scheme  supports local businesses while giving you peace of mind that the trader you are using can be trusted.

By using the scheme to find a trader, you can expect:

  • full disclosure of call out charges
  • written quotations and written schedules of work
  • to be consulted when the quotation price is likely to change
  • to be consulted when the work schedule is likely to change
  • a friendly, reasonably priced aftercare service.
  • if there is a dispute, we will work with you and the trader to resolve it.

What if I can’t afford the work?

If you can’t afford to carry out the required work that is needed to bring the property back into use, you still have a number of options:

  • the simplest may be to sell the property in its current condition
  • you could look for a loan to cover the cost of the works – perhaps releasing equity through re-mortgaging;
  • you can also consider some of the empty home owner incentives available nationally and from Angus Council.

Angus Council Empty homes loan fund

This fund offers low interest loans from £5000 to £17,000 to help owners renovate homes that have been registered empty for six months or longer.

The loan must be used to bring an unoccupied property up to meet repairing standards and make it fit for occupation. Once an unoccupied property has been renovated it must be let out at or below Local Housing Allowance levels for the relevant property size for a minimum of five years.

To be considered the following criteria must be met:

  • the property must be registered unoccupied for six months or longer
  • there must be an expectation that the property would remain empty long term without additional funding support
  • the property must not be in a state of repair suitable for letting at the time the bid is submitted
  • for security purposes, any owner must have equity in the property that is at least double that of any loan bid.

Angus Council Property Matchmaker Scheme

This scheme matches owners looking to sell their property with parties with an interest in purchasing empty property.

It can be used when a property requires some form of repair works or if the property is in a condition that is ready to move into.

We hold two lists; one of potential buyers and one of selling owners. We have information related to property type, approximate purchase price, and advisory lists of works that are required.

When the empty homes officer spots a match between an empty home for sale and a buyer’s requirement, the empty home owner and the buyer will receive each other’s details to follow-up.

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

VAT reductions on renovations

If you are bringing a home that has been empty for two years or more back into use then you may be eligible to receive a reduced rate of VAT on eligible renovation works. For more information visit HM Revenues & Customs VAT Notice 708 – building and construction.

To access this discount a VAT registered contractor must be used. A similar scheme is also available for properties that have been unoccupied for over 10 years.

The council can provide an owner with an evidence letter highlighting the last date of occupation.

Discounted merchant rates

Through the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership practitioners have secured discounted rates for empty home owners at a number of national builders merchants. These companies can supply products that should enable owners to address most repairs and improvements.

An up to date list of participating merchants and services is available at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.

Scottish Governments Rural Housing Fund

The primary aim of the Scottish Government Rural Housing Fund is to increase the long term availability of residential housing of all tenures in Scotland. This means, for example providing support to increase the number of rural empty properties brought back into use for affordable rent or sale.

Applications to the fund must come from eligible organisations. Individuals or loose individuals (for example certain types of clubs) would not be eligible to submit an application.

You can use our online form to report any concerns you have about an empty  property in Angus. 

Report an empty home

If you are the owner of a long-term empty home in Angus and would like support and assistance from us, then please complete our empty homes survey.

Completing this survey will provide the team with an overview of circumstances surrounding your property and will allow us to provide a bespoke individual service that meets your specific needs:

Empty home owners survey