With Valentine’s day quickly approaching, I thought it was only appropriate to share one of our most romantic services offered through Shelter Scotland, through the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.

The ‘matchmaker’ service is essentially a local database held by a number of councils across Scotland. Empty homes officers use this information to link up owners of empty homes with individuals who are looking to buy in the area. It enables the owner to find a solution to the burden and costs associated with an empty home, the community and neighbours who might be suffering as a result of a neighbouring empty home, as well as increasing the supply of available housing.

I caught up with Katrina Morrison, Professional Matchmaker (Vacant Property Support Assistant) at Perth & Kinross Council, who was celebrating a successful match.

I hear there is cause for celebration, Katrina!

Yes in January we heard that one of our matchmade pairs had finally tied the knot last month. We were all delighted!

That’s great news, tell us the background, how did the pair meet?

Well, the house had been lying empty for over a year. After a bad experience with a fire in a neighbouring property, the owner just didn’t feel able to return to the flat. The poor flat had been lying empty a while, and wasn’t able to find a new owner. It was beginning to feel a bit neglected, but I knew that there was plenty more fish in the sea for this property – it was just a case of hooking them up with the right person.

And how did you find a new owner for the empty home?

A local property developer owned another flat in the block, and had already signed up to the matchmaker scheme – they were interested in buying other empty homes. When my colleagues and I met up with the owner of this empty flat, they explained they had been trying to sell but were struggling to find a buyer. It was like a match made in heaven!

That’s great news Katrina. So the sale went through last month?

Yes, and the best part is, there’s three happy parties now. One – the owner of the empty property has got rid of the financial burden. Two – the new owner has found another flat that they love, and three – the new owner is going to rent it out, so there will soon be another property rented by a happy tenant.

A win for everyone!

Thirteen local authority areas now run matchmaker schemes. If you’d like any more information about matchmaker services being run for empty homes in your area, please do get in touch: lisa_glass@shelter.org.uk.

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