Bringing empty homes back to life in Angus

We are launching a £100,000 campaign to turn empty properties into homes where people want to live.

The Empty Homes Grant Fund will help owners of empty homes bring long-term unoccupied properties back into residential use.

There are an estimated 47,000 long-term empty properties in Scotland, with around 1200
of those in Angus, where demand is high for affordable housing.

Communities Convener, Cllr Mark Salmond said:

We are determined to increase the supply and availability of affordable housing for individual people and families in Angus. Building affordable homes that people are proud to call home is one way we can and do achieve this. But we must not ignore the 1200 or so empty properties that, with our support, can provide vital housing for those in need of a home. An empty home can have a negative impact on a neighbourhood and so this is money well spent – not just in support of people and families, but for our communities too. By reducing the number of empty homes in Angus, we make our communities better, more attractive and vibrant places to live.

Owners of an empty property that has lain empty for at least six months could benefit from the fund, which launches on Monday 1 February.

Grants will be awarded, on a discretionary basis, for property types where we consider there is a demonstrable need for housing. Grant subsidy is limited to a maximum of £7,500 per bedroom for necessary improvements to bring properties up to a standard that is fit to live in.

On completion of the project, successful applicants must rent the property out as affordable housing for a minimum period of five years. By receiving the grant, owners are also committing to rent their property to a person who is working with the housing service to explore their housing options.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership encourages action to bring Scotland’s privately-owned long-term empty homes back into residential use. The launch of our Empty Homes Grant Fund was welcomed by Shaheena Din, National Project Manager, Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, who said:

We are delighted that Angus Council is launching an empty homes grant fund. The reasons that homes lie empty for long periods are often complex, for example owners who inherit properties without the means to renovate them to letting standard. This initiative will provide access to much-needed funds to bring properties back to habitable standards, meaning more available housing in Angus and the benefits to local communities and economy that result from the transformation of empty homes.

For more information on the fund, go to our dedicated Empty Homes webpage, or email to declare an interest.

See our Empty Homes Grand Video:


Private landlord survey – thank you for your response!

We recently sent an online survey to registered landlords about working together with us to provide housing for people in urgent need and improve tenancy sustainment in the private sector.

This survey was conducted in partnership with the national homelessness charity Crisis, and Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils.

We were delighted to receive a fantastic response from landlords across all three areas. 1725 landlords completed the survey, many leaving useful comments and suggestions, and over half expressing an interest in hearing more about this area of work in future.

Thank you so much to every landlord who took the time to inform our work, and ultimately to help people in urgent housing need in our local authority, at what is a very challenging time for all.

What happens next?

The survey has helped us understand landlords’ opinions and needs in relation to working together in future. As part of our rapid rehousing work, we are already following up on the findings.

Below you can find the survey results :

British Forces Resettlement Services Employment Fair


The BFRS Virtual event will provide the Armed Forces Community with a great opportunity to meet and network with employers. The event combines real world services with technological and virtual solutions.

Date:   23 – 25 February 2021

Location Online:  BFRS Employment Fair-Feb21
To book your place, visit the BFRS website

Attendees can access in-house information from exhibitors virtually.

These events connect attendees with exhibitors, giving access to exhibitors websites, social media channels, videos, jobs, courses, downloadable company information, it allows appointments, sending messages and viewing live and on demand webcasts.

Keeping a steady hand on the SHIP’s tiller

Our Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for the next five years was approved by Councillors yesterday.

The SHIP prioritises investment in new affordable housing across Angus, ensuring that we continue to meet the demand for good quality affordable homes.

Through the SHIP, it is estimated that around 550 homes could be built between now and 2026, by us l and our housing association partners, working with the local construction sector and bringing much needed investment to Angus. This requires a subsidy of around £31M from the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

COVID-19 restrictions have severely impacted the construction sector but, despite this, we and our and our partners are determinedly continuing to deliver a full programme of new affordable housing in Angus.

250 of the new homes will be built by us as part of our ambitious five years new build programme. Funding of around £37m has been allocated from the Housing Capital Expenditure Plan 2019/24 to achieve this. This forward investment brings much needed certainty for the construction industry, which is crucial in supporting employment opportunities.

Our Communities Convenor, Cllr Mark Salmond said: “As we start the year with further pandemic restrictions, we are now more acutely aware than ever of the need for everyone in Angus to have access to good quality, affordable housing. I’m delighted that our SHIP continues to make a significant positive impact on the lives of people in Angus – it helps the economy; it helps to maintain jobs; it helps people to have safe and secure homes that are affordable; and it helps create places that people are proud to call home.”

Satisfaction with Housing Services Increasing

Our recent Customer Satisfaction Survey was the subject of a recent report to our Communities Committee. This year, we asked Research Resource to carry out our survey. Having an external company doing the survey makes sure we don’t influence was tenants want to tell us, and allows tenants to be completely honest with their views. This time, because of the COVID pandemic, we were unable to have face-to-face surveys, so it was all done by telephone, and over 1000 tenants took part. We thank all the tenants who gave up their time to give us their views.

Here are some of the results – the latest results are in orange:

Satisfaction with the overall Housing service increased by 7%.

Satisfaction with how we keep tenants informed about our services increased by 5%.

Satisfaction with opportunities to participate in shaping housing services rose by 35% and we think the work done involving tenants in the Tenant and Community Participation Strategy was recognised as positive.

Satisfaction with the quality of tenants’ homes increased by 6%.

Satisfaction with the management of estates increased by 11%.

The proportion of tenants who feel their rent is value for money increased by 5%.

So we can see that satisfaction increased in all aspects of the housing service and we are now performing better than the Scottish average in all areas. Our challenge now, is to maintain that and increase it further!

Mark Salmond, Communities Convener said 

We thank all our tenants who took time to give us their views. We fully recognise just how important it is to hear the opinions of those people with first-hand experience of paying for and receiving our services.
“It is good to know that, with that experience, the vast majority believe that we provide good value for money. The survey clearly demonstrates that we are going in the right direction, but we must not rest on our laurels, as there are still areas where we can do better. Our team will continue working hard to deliver further improvements in the years ahead.

Tom O’Brien of our Tenant Steering Group said 

These results are good news. I’m particularly impressed by the dramatic improvement in the level of satisfaction tenants have with opportunities to participate in the landlord’s decision-making processes. This has risen from 59% last time, to 94%. I think that underlines the success of the customer engagement strategy. There are areas that still need work, and these will be addressed going forward.

Who Cares? Scotland Helpline

The Who Cares? Scotland Helpline is open to all Care Experienced people across Scotland, of any age – whether currently in care or having left care.

 The line (0330 107 7540) is open Monday to Friday from 12-4pm, and they can also be contacted by email on

 They can provide a range of support to care experienced people, including:

• Support and signposting around finances, benefits, housing, health, employment, education, and rights

• Lifelong advocacy

• A listening ear

• Referral route into local advocacy if the caller is a young person

Housing Repairs and Maintenance During Lockdown

Since 5 January Angus, along with the whole of mainland Scotland, moved to full lockdown of COVID-19 restrictions; see here for full government advice.

Essentially works that are permitted to be carried out under these restrictions remain unchanged from those advised under Level 4. These are as follows:


We will only accept new emergency repairs in occupied properties, and this includes:

•    loss of heating and/or hot water – Total loss of both heating & hot water with no electric shower

•    an uncontainable leak

•    sewage backing up and overflowing into the property

•    a serious security problem, such as a front door that cannot be locked

•    loss of essential services, such as water or electricity

When you contact ACCESSline on 03452 777 778 to report a repair, we will ask you the following questions to help us determine how best to protect against the spread of the virus:

1.    Do you currently have any symptoms of coronavirus? (new cough, high temperature, loss of smell or taste)

2.    Has anyone you work or socialise with closely had coronavirus within the last 14 days?

3.    Are you in a vulnerable or shielding group as identified in government guidance?

We will then:

1.    Assess the repair required and if it is classed as emergency, your repair will be processed in the normal way.

2.    If your repair is not classed as Emergency, we will not carry out the repair at this time, however, we will keep a record of your repair and it will be dealt with when we come out of lockdown.

3.    Please be advised that contractors will continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment while in your property.

The Right to Repair remains suspended.


If you are reporting a gas repair to the contractor directly you will be asked the same questions, as listed above, to allow them to assess how to deal with your repair.

Once we are in a position to deal with routine repairs again, we will post an update here.

If you report a repair to us, we will assume that we have your permission for our contractor to carry it out if they can.

We are legally bound to complete annual gas service safety inspections within the required timescales that have been provided to you in your servicing letter. You must give access.

Electrical Safety testing will also continue.

Any exceptions to the rule of law must be identified on discussion with the relevant contractor.


All of our non-essential planned works within tenanted properties, examples listed below, are suspended until further notice:

•    Bathroom Upgrades

•    Kitchen Upgrades

•    Planned Heating Upgrades

•    Window Upgrades

•    Energy Efficiency Internal Works (including the ABS and ECO Flex schemes)

Works relating to these above contracts will continue in empty properties.

External works will also continue where possible, examples include:

•    External Wall Insulation

•    Repainting windows

•    External surveys for future window installations

•    Roofing and gutter replacement works


New build projects on site in Arbroath and Montrose will continue under Scottish Government guidelines.


Sheltered lounges remain closed for the time being.

Fire Alarm Servicing is a requirement, and this work will go ahead where tenants have been notified and are comfortable with contractors working in their home.

Communal Areas: there are some planned works to carry out improvements to some lifts which includes a temporary stairlift installation. This work will go ahead, and we would ask that you use social distancing in the areas of this work.

Housing Allocations During Lockdown

Under current restrictions, you can still move home and we will continue to advertise and allocate properties through the Angus Homefinder website. We understand that for some people, moving home may be more difficult at the moment, particularly if you are shielding. If your bid for a property is successful, we will be as flexible as we can in agreeing a move in date with you that takes account of your individual circumstances. You should discuss this with your Housing Officer when you are notified your bid has been successful.