The number of empty West Dunbartonshire Council houses has dropped significantly in the last year despite previous concerns that the numbers were rising. 

In August last year, there were around 380 vacant homes before the number peaked at 425 in November compared to pre-Covid levels which were below 150 at any given time.  

By August 2023 however, there were 227 empty properties referred to the council’s building services for repair.

The local authority previously carried out a review on the number of empty properties some of which required “significant levels of work” which could not be completed during lockdown due to social distancing guidelines.

According to a report presented to members of the housing and communities committee, this has resulted in a backlog of work and an exceptionally high number of homes requiring to be refurbished before they can be re-let.

Between August 2022 and July 2023, there were a total of 762 homes referred to the council’s building services for repair.

By August 7 this year there were 136 operational properties with building services, 40 ready to let and 51 empty properties which required major work to be undertaken.

Depute Labour leader, Councillor Michelle McGinty said: “I think we need to recognise the significant work that has gone into this as this is not on the back of having empty houses and having come out of the pandemic we know that yes there are a lot of empty houses and work couldn’t be done but had massive repairs backlog as well.

“We couldn’t carry out these repairs because of social distancing. 

“To go from over 400 void houses last year to being down in the hundreds in a year – I think is a significant amount of work.

“It has taken a lot of planning, time and effort from everyone involved so we are in a much better place than last year.”