For the past year, Shelter Scotland has been trying to establish why 27,000 homes have been standing empty, and in East Lothian it seems there are a number of reasons.
The homelessness charity has been operating an empty homes helpline for the past year, encouraging people to report houses that have stood empty for long periods, so the owners can be contacted and the accommodation brought back into use, if possible.
Refurbishing an empty house costs between £6,000 and £25,000, while the average cost of a new-build home in Scotland is £100,000.
The top reasons why privately-owned homes across East Lothian are left empty for long periods of time are, according to the charity, the fear of becoming a landlord and the responsibilities it brings, waiting for property prices to rise in order to sell, lack of motivation or know-how, and lack of insurance to cover the cost of repairing a damaged home.
Kristen Hubert, of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “One year on from the launch of the empty homes helpline, we have helped owners in East Lothian to start the process of bringing their properties back into use, either for themselves or others in need of a home.
“Once reports are received through the helpline, an empty homes officer will work with everyone involved to facilitate bringing the property back into use.”
To report an empty home, call 0344 515 1941.