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Empty Homes

A long term empty home is any privately owned home which has been empty for 6 months or more.

Empty homes are a wasted resource that could be used to help meet housing need, but instead help contribute to the UK's housing shortage. They can also cause problems for residents living in their vicinity and can have a negative impact on the wider community.

Bringing empty homes back into use can increase housing supply, improve community safety and contribute to regeneration.

If you own an empty home

There are a variety of different ways you can bring your property back into use through letting it out, living in it yourself or selling. If you are an empty home owner and have not had a letter, please contact us for information on how West Lothian Council can help.

Alternatively, advice is available from the Empty Homes pages of the Shelter Scotland website. The Empty Homes team at Shelter Scotland can be contacted on 0344 515 1941 or email

It is able to:

  • Provide first level empty homes advice to empty home owners, neighbours and organisations interested in empty homes work;

  • Make referrals to the network of local Empty Homes Officers working in Scotland's Local Authorities;

  • Follow up on empty homes reports and pursue empty homes case work in areas without a local empty homes service;

  • Provide information on where empty homes grants and loans are available throughout the country and link into local Empty Homes Matchmaker Schemes

Report an empty home

If you are concerned about an empty property, you can report it using the national website. Please provide as much information as possible about the property, including a precise address. This information will help identify what action is needed.

Empty Homes Matchmaker Scheme

The Council runs a matchmaker scheme that links empty home owners who are interested in selling their property with people who are interested in buying an empty home.

More Information Coming Soon

The Council's role with empty homes

It is an owner's responsibility to look after their property. However, if a home gets 'stuck' as an empty, the Council can play a role in helping to fix the problem.

We do this through the Homes Again Project, which is a partnership between five local authorities (Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian, Fife, Scottish Borders and West Lothian). The Empty Homes Officers work with owners in these areas, and with other services in the Council, to find the best ways to bring empty properties back into use.

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