Council / Fetlar council houses empty for over five years

SOME council houses in Fetlar have now been vacant for over five years as properties on the outlying island suffer from low demand.

As of 4 August two houses in Fetlar had been empty for 1,918 and 1,904 days respectively.

A one-bedroom council house in Skerries, meanwhile, has been vacant for nearly four years.

The figures form part of a freedom of information request to Shetland Islands Council (SIC) on how long its vacant accommodation has been without occupants.

The figures are not unexpected, with the outlying islands always experiencing less demand than the mainland, but they shine a light on the extent to which some properties can lay empty.

A total of six council houses in Fetlar remained empty as of 4 August, with the most recently vacated property empty for a year.

The properties would have a weekly rent of £66.74.

There is also a two-bedroom property vacant in Unst as a result of low demand.


The figures also show a number of long-vacant houses empty due to “extensive works”, such as one in Scalloway which has been unoccupied for around three years.

Three houses in Mossbank and a couple in nearby Firth have also been vacant for some time for the same reason.

As of 4 August there were over 50 properties across Shetland in the process of being let.

The council noted, however, that during lockdown there were restrictions on the ability of contractors to enter properties to carry out works.

There were also restrictions on allocating properties.

“While some loosening of those restrictions have happened more recently, there is a backlog of works and this information needs to be considered in light of that context as a snapshot at a particular time,” the SIC said.

Housing executive manager Anita Jamieson.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


As of 4 August there were 656 applications on the housing register.

Shetland Islands Council’s housing manager Anita Jamieson said the local authority closely monitors the number of vacant properties in its housing stock and “takes steps to encourage applications for low demand properties”.

“There are often particular circumstance in communities that cause fluctuations in demand,” she said.

“We are dealing with relatively small numbers of both supply and demand in the smaller island areas.

“We also work in partnership with others and would particularly highlight the work being carried out through the Community Planning Partnership on Islands with Small Populations which helps to bring a wider understanding of the communities and their needs.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.