Almost 300 vacant homes brought back to use following anonymous tip-offs

Almost 300 vacant homes brought back to use following anonymous tip-offs
File photo

Almost 300 vacant homes have been brought back into use in the last two years following anonymous tip-offs.

The VacantHomes.ie website was launched just over two years ago on behalf of the country’s 31 councils to try to identify homes that could be used to tackle the housing shortage.

It was developed by Mayo County Council on behalf of the local government sector in Ireland and acts as a central portal for individuals to anonymously log possible vacant properties and alert local authorities who can follow up with owners to see whether the house can be re-used quickly.

The idea behind the initiative was that local knowledge would help to identify properties which have been vacant for some time. On the homepage of the website, the public can answer a variety of questions about the properties, including whether or not there is overgrown grass or visible damage to the building, or whether there are waste bins being collected at the property.

Users can also upload pictures and register for updates on the property if they need to.

Tom Gilligan, director of services with Mayo County Council, told the Irish Examiner that since launching in 2017, VacantHomes.ie has received tip-offs about 3,236 properties.

Almost half of these were in Leinster at 48%, with 36% in Munster, 13% in Connacht and 3% in Ulster.

"The types and percentages of properties registered are as follows: Detached 32%, Semi-Detached 31%, Terraced 27%, Flat/Apartment 6% and Others 4%," Mr Gilligan said.

"The most reports have come from the following counties: Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Louth, Meath, Limerick, Galway and Waterford."

In all, 293 properties have been brought back to use or are in the process of being brought back to use.

"We are very satisfied with the response we have received to date and want to thank everyone for their efforts in helping provide a home to people with a housing need," Mr Gilligan said.

He appealed to the owners of vacant homes to come forward to help house families.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure more families get to celebrate Christmas in the comfort of a home as opposed to a hotel room or B&B and owners of empty homes can help in this regard," he said.

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