Edinburgh housing crisis: More than 9,000 properties sitting empty amid soaring demand for housing

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Startling new figures have revealed that more than 9,000 properties in Edinburgh are sitting empty, amid soaring demand for housing.

Edinburgh is the council area in Lothians – and across Scotland – with the most unoccupied properties at 9,285, according to freedom of Information requests.

Of these 8,589 are homes – that’s more than four times the 1950 total reported by the council just several weeks ago.

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But the shocking new figures from FOIs to all councils captures all types of properties including privately owned homes, council and also non-domestic. Miles Briggs MSP said it

More than 9000 properties are unoccupied in the CapitalMore than 9000 properties are unoccupied in the Capital
More than 9000 properties are unoccupied in the Capital

suggests the scale of the problem with vacant properties has been drastically underestimated.

The report out in early December on the latest empty home statistics for Edinburgh highlighted that housing supply in the Capital "remains under pressure in the wake of the pandemic and increasing demand".

Scottish Conservatives have blasted the figures as ‘unacceptable’ at a time when many people are struggling to either get on the housing ladder or find rented accommodation.

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It comes after calls from a leading letting agent to tackle the city's housing crisis, sparked by concerns that soaring numbers on social housing waiting lists could further exacerbate existing shortages of homes.

The Scottish Conservatives have now issued a fresh call for compulsory sale orders for long-term unoccupied properties, a commitment made in their manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Miles Briggs MSP said:

“These figures are a national scandal when we consider that, during a housing crisis, many properties lie forgotten and derelict.

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“It’s appalling that viable housing stock is being wasted and neglected in this way, particularly in Lothian which is the fastest growing region of Scotland.

“Sadly, these issues are not unique to Lothian and we are seeing this replicated across Scotland.

“This is why the Scottish Conservatives would support compulsory sale orders for long-term unoccupied properties, and why we have proposed relaxing planning laws to allow for the conversion of unoccupied business buildings into accommodation.

“The SNP must commit to the ambitious housing targets that the Scottish Conservatives have proposed if they are to help the country out of the housing crisis that they created.”

The council has been contacted for comment.

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