Tax breaks could be offered to owners of long-empty properties in Perthshire.
Perth and Kinross Council hopes the new incentive scheme will help developers bring vacant buildings back into use.
Special powers have been given to local authority officers, allowing them to use “discretion” when deciding how much council tax certain property owners should pay.
It comes just weeks after a hallway collapse at an Atholl Street property triggered calls to clean up and re-use derelict and vacant buildings in the city centre.
One local property manager warned several buildings which had been boarded up for years, had fallen into a state of disrepair.
The move was backed by members of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on Wednesday.
In a report to councillors, principal officer (local taxes) Kevin Fraser said: “The head of finance states that it would be beneficial to introduce an element of discretion in certain circumstances in order to assist those that are taking clear steps to bring unoccupied dwellings back into use.
“The call for this stems from a number of sources, such as enquiries received via elected members, members of the Scottish Parliament and the council’s empty property development team.”
Councillor Anne Younger welcomed the move, stating: “We’re all aware of the number of times that issues are raised with us regarding properties which have been lying empty and we’re asked: What is the council doing about it?
“I see this as a way of giving encouragement to others to make their properties habitable.”
Councillor Peter Barrett said that the criteria for discretion had not been adequately defined. “It seems to install an awful lot of responsibility on the empty homes officer,” he said.
The local authority was warned it could face a legal challenge if it didn’t agree to the policy change.
Three years ago, an appeal was upheld in Argyll and Bute where a 100% surcharge was revoked and a recommendation made that the council should provide exceptions to its policy.
Council tax and surcharge discounts could be offered to any owner where “conditions, outwith the control of the council, create a limited market and thereby a negative impact on the time that a dwelling may take to sell.”