The extent of empty homes and how these can be brought back into use is to be investigated by the Scottish Government.

National Records of Scotland data from 2017 has shown that four per cent of the dwellings in Scotland are unoccupied and Holyrood’s local government and communities committee inquiry will investigate the reasons for this.

The new inquiry will examine the scale of the issue, effectiveness of current legislation and what can be done to prevent properties remaining empty.

Read more: Dalmuir Park Housing Association puts its house in order

James Dornan MSP, convener of the local government and communities committee, said: “Empty homes can have a huge impact on communities.

“There are a number of reasons why a property can be empty, but empty homes can have a huge impact on communities and reduce available housing supply at a time when housing is in great demand.

“The committee will explore the extent of the problem and the impact this can have in both urban and rural communities across Scotland.

“We want to ensure local authorities have appropriate powers to tackle this issue and that everything possible is being done to encourage owners to put these empty homes back into use.

“To do this we want to hear from local authorities, housing experts and those who have been impacted by empty homes in their communities.”

Read more: First phase of Queens Quay homes gets go-ahead from council

The call for written views will close on May 17.

The committee has stressed it is not looking at second homes as part of its inquiry, as these are distinct from empty homes.