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The Highland Council is piloting a new open market purchase scheme to buy property directly from owners to bolster its housing stock.
The local authority is asking anyone considering selling a house to contact them and help make a difference to families needing a home in communities across the Highlands.
Chairman of the council’s housing and property committee, Councillor Laurie Fraser, stressed the purchases would be in addition to the council’s policy of building new affordable housing.
He said there was a continuing need for good quality, affordable housing across Highland, especially for three, four and five-bed properties. ‘We welcome the opportunity to meet some of this need through purchase of individual properties,’ added Mr Fraser.
The council will consider buying properties across Highland which meet certain criteria including condition and value.
The council will provide a valuation for any property of interest and will not require a home report nor for the property to be advertised.
Lochaber councillor Allan Henderson, Caol and Mallaig ward, told the Lochaber Times: ‘This is really a scheme that is being refreshed. The council is in the market for houses to suit families, but only if they are at market value. The council cannot end up in a bidding war.
‘As far as I know, one was purchased recently in Ardgour when a private tenant decided to move on and the owner was willing to be philanthropic and do a deal. With the current bubble in Lochaber, it is very difficult for the council once a house is advertised, hence the release going public.
‘We are fortunate there are still people out there who remember when their family got the opportunity to buy local authority housing at a very advantageous price.’
Lochaber councillor Allan Henderson.