A new survey has revealed some of the top reasons why privately-owned homes across Highland are left empty for long periods.
Data compiled from calls made during the first year of a free helpline suggested that many of the country’s 27,000 long-term empty homes could be brought back into use with the right advice and support for owners and communities.
The study found that the fear of becoming a landlord and the responsibilities it brings, along with waiting for property prices to rise in order to sell, were among the reasons given by owners.
Others admitted they had an emotional attachment to their empty homes and found it hard to let go of them because they had grown up there.
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership has helped councils and others to bring back into use more than 1,750 homes across the country since 2010.
It estimates that long-term private empty homes across Scotland are worth a combined total of £4.5billion.
Kristen Hubert from the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “One year on from the launch of the empty homes helpline, we have helped owners in Highland to start the process of bringing their properties back into use, either for themselves or others in need of a home.
“Whatever the reason for an empty home – whether it’s because the owner has sentimental attachment to it or they simply don’t have the finances to carry out repair work, we are here to help find solutions.
“While 27,000 long term empty homes lay empty across Scotland there are 150,000 families and individuals on waiting lists for a home. Making use of the existing housing stock makes both social and economic sense and whilst empty homes alone won’t solve Scotland’s housing crisis, they can be part of the solution.”