NEW powers are being brought in which could help tackle empty homes and shop units in East Dunbartonshire.
The Scottish Parliament has passed the Unoccupied Properties Bill, which will allow local authorities to charge up to double the current level of council tax on homes which have stood empty for more than a year.
Further measures in the Bill will reduce rates relief on empty commercial properties, provide greater incentives for owners to seek occupants for vacant shops and offices, and offer a 50 per cent rates discount to anyone taking on a shop or office empty for 12 months.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “While people across Scotland need new homes, it is completely unacceptable that 25,000 houses are lying empty long-term and of no use to anybody.
“Not only that, empty homes can become a magnet for vandalism and anti-social behaviour, dragging down whole communities.
The ability to increase council tax on empty properties will give councils a new and crucial tool to tackle this problem and encourage owners to bring homes back into use.”
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