Window Tax

The Window Tax was introduced in 1696 and lasted until 1851.

It was not applied in Scotland until 1748 where a house had to have at least seven windows or a rent of at least £5 to be taxed

After its repeal there was a tax on uninhabited houses. This lead to roofs being removed from castles etc, and would have encouraged townships to convert any unwanted accommodation to farm use, or to take the thatch off a building pretty smartly.
This may help to explain why there is rarely an uninhabited house in any of the census for Auchindrain, but that buildings did come in and out of use for families throughout the 1800's.