The Unoccupied Properties Bill Stage 1 debate took place this week and Stage 2 amendments may now be lodged with the Legislation Team.
The Bill will allow councils to remove existing discounts and increase council tax on certain long-term empty homes. There are 25,000 long-term empty homes across Scotland and it is hoped that these new powers could assist councils to work with home owners to provide homes for people who need them.
The reforms also include measures to incentivise owners of vacant business premises to bring up to 5,500 properties back into commercial use.
Under the current system of Empty Property Relief the Scottish Government would have provided approximately £757m of business rates subsidies, over the period 2010-15, to owners of business premises who have failed to find occupants.