Now premises which are lying in disrepair may be overhauled after a Highland MSP launched a bid to give councils a means of recovering costs for dealing with the increasingly large number of defective buildings.
MSP David Stewart said crumbling and unsightly buildings were a real problem across Scotland, with up to 83% of dwellings in need of some kind of repair.
He said they were not just unsafe but also an eyesore and could have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area by driving down house prices or making town centres seem unwelcoming.
At the moment councils normally only intervene if a building has become dangerous. Mr Stewart's parliamentary bill would see the charges being passed on to owners before that stage.
Mr Stewart said: "Such buildings need to be dealt with in a fair and practical manner. Too many have been allowed to drift into disrepair and need urgent remedy.
"There are countless examples not only across the Highlands and Islands, but the whole of Scotland.
"It is the owners' responsibility to repair buildings which may be abandoned or disused. My Bill aims to enable councils to carry out repairs while, in turn, being empowered to pass the cost on to the owners."
The Bill would enable councils to recoup the cost. This would in turn provide them with an extra revenue stream which Mr Stewart hopes would help stimulate the building industry.
Vulnerable and low income home owners could have up to 30 years to pay the council for the repairs. A charging order would be put on the title of the property, which could not be sold until it is paid off in full either by the previous or new owner.
The Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill will now go to Holyrood's housing committee.