Bringing empty homes back into use: audit of privately owned empty homes

An independent audit of long-term empty homes policy and interventions in Scotland.

Appendix 5: Glossary of terms

Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) – The Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) comprises a range of funding mechanisms to enable affordable housing providers to deliver homes for social rent, mid-market rent, and low cost home ownership in communities across Scotland to support local authorities’ Local Housing Strategies. See More Homes, Scottish Government.

Below Tolerable Standard (BTS) – The Tolerable Standard is a basic level of repair your property must meet to make it fit for a person to live in, as defined in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. Below Tolerable Standard means the property does not meet this standard.

Community Interest Company (CIC) – A CIC is a special type of limited company. It exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.

Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) – Compulsory Purchase Order give many public authorities the power to purchase land without the owner's agreement if there is considered to be a strong enough case in the public interest in doing so. All CPOs must be submitted to the Scottish Government for consideration and approved by a Minister.

Compulsory Sales Orders (CSOs) – Compulsory Sales Orders describe a new power (does not currently exist) to force sales by public authorities, proposed by the Scottish Land Commission in 2018. See – ‘A Proposal from the Scottish Land Commission.’

CTAXBASE (CTB) – The CTAXBASE figures gives the number of properties in each council tax band in each local authority area, including those with exemptions and discounts. This is used for gathering data on the number of dwellings in Scotland that form the basis of the Council Tax Base.

Council Tax Register (CTR) – the Register held by each Scottish local authority of all Council Tax accounts relating to property in which a household resides.

Council Tax premium or levy – a Council Tax premium is where the household is charged extra when the property has been empty for specified periods of time.

Croft and de-crofted housing – A croft is a small agricultural unit. A croft is the land, not the house the crofter lives in. Crofts are usually rented and are often part of large estates where the landowner is the crofter's landlord. Decrofting is the term used when land is removed from crofting tenure. The Landlord of a tenanted croft who wishes to remove land from crofting tenure must make an application to the Scottish Land Court. This is called resumption and has the same effect as decrofting.

Enforced sales – In England and Wales many statutes allow a local authority to serve notice requiring the owner of a property to carry out works. If the owner fails to comply with the notice, the local authority has the right to carry out the works and take a charge over the property for the cost of the works. An enforced sale arises where the local authority exercises the power of sale conferred by the charge. This power of sale is the same power that a bank or building society uses when it sells property after the owner has defaulted on mortgage payments. Provided that the property is unoccupied, the local authority can sell the property without first obtaining a court order, and the right of sale continues to exist even after the property has changed hands. In most cases, the local authority’s charge has priority over all other charges, which means that the local authority can sell the property without the consent of any other mortgage or charge holder.

Empty dwelling management orders (EDMOs) – The Housing Act 2004 in England made provision for local authorities to take over management of certain residential premises that had been empty for at least six months by seeking an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO). Residential Property Tribunals (now First-Tier Tribunals) gained the power to issue EDMOs on 6 July 2006.

Housing Revenue Account (HRA) – The Housing Revenue Account is a separate account within the General Fund of a local authority. Schedule 15 to the 1987 Act details the income and expenditure which is to be charged to the HRA. The main items of income and expenditure for an HRA are: rental income from houses, and other HRA assets.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – The Local Housing Allowance is used to calculate the maximum amount people renting from a private landlord can claim in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. This maximum rent is based on where a person lives, the number of bedrooms you need and the rent you pay.

Long-term empty properties – generally in this report long-term empty properties are those which have been empty for more than 6 months and are liable for council tax. A 100% premium (double the full rate) can be applied by local authorities to homes that have been empty for more than 12 months.

OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Passivhaus – according to the Passivhaus Trust, Passivhaus is a tried & tested solution that gives us a range of proven approaches to deliver net-zero in new and existing buildings.

Second homes – homes which are furnished and lived in for at least 25 days in a 12-month period but are not someone’s main residence.

Unoccupied exemptions – generally, properties which are empty and unfurnished for less than 6 months and exempt from paying council tax.



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