The founder of a new vacant homes wesbite www.emptyhomes.ie today called on the public to register vacant properties so that they can be fast tracked back to use. Padraic Grennan, director of Erin Research, a a probate genealogy firm that specialises in tracing missing beneficiaries and unknown next of kin to estates worldwide, said over 9% of Irish housing stock is vacant, much of it due to complex probate issues.
Launching the website in Drogheda today, Grennan said some local authorities are struggling to process the information they are receiving from the public about vacant properties due to a lack of resources. Emptyhomes.ie was set up to counter this.
“There are many reasons why houses can lie abandoned, for years. We all know of empty homes sitting in our neighbourhoods – we may even have known who lived there last and it’s a shame to see properties fall to ruin. One of the reasons a home can remain empty is because a person has died and their estate has not been resolved. There may be missing beneficiaries or no will. In other cases the family have not elected to sell the home for various complicated reasons. Often, nobody knows who owns a property or why it is abandoned.
“Because of our background in genealogy and heir tracing, we have the expertise to find out this information and use it to get these houses back to market. We work to get to the bottom of why a house is abandoned and how to get in lived in again.”
Members of the public can log properties at EmptyHomes.ie, which will create a map of abandoned homes across the country and identify those most suitable for social and private housing.
“In a lot of cases, we present the properties to local authorities ready for social housing repair,” says Grennan. “We have established links with our well known charitable housing bodies such as Focus Ireland who do such great work in housing those in need. We can also provide houses to the private market. The key to the process is resolving the legal and probate work, so that buyers can purchase the property with ease.”
With over 10,000 people in Ireland accounted as homeless in the latest Government figures, Grennan identifying the right vacant properties is key. Census 2016 showed that over 183,000 houses lie empty in Ireland, a little over 9% of Ireland’s housing stock.
“We’re looking for properties in towns and cities, where there’s demand. We’re also looking for properties that can be returned to use as quickly as possible. We are already working with local authorities who tell us they have the information but the not the resources to solve the cases. We see Emptyhomes.ie as playing one vital role in helping return a whole swathe of housing stock to market. The crisis is so great that it will take many forms of assistance, from both the private and public sector, to solve. We know we can help, with the right information.”
Grennan concluded: “Every day we pass by boarded up houses, overgrown gardens and crumbling properties. Even in our cities, where we are housing families in B&Bs every night, there are empty homes just lying there. We’re calling on the public to let us know about these properties and we will do our best to get them lived in again, as soon as possible.”
Suspected vacant properties can be registered at www.emptyhomes.ie. All properties logged will be investigated for possible return to housing stock.