Empty homes

An empty home is a dwelling or residential property which has been unoccupied for more than six months. You can report an empty home to the local council. They can investigate and contact the property owner. They can give advice about how an empty property could be used.

Recognising an empty home

An ‘empty home’ is a house or other dwelling which:

  • has been unoccupied for over six months
  • is not for sale 
  • is not advertised to rent

Empty homes in a neighbourhood

Empty properties are often poorly maintained and can fall into disrepair. Neglected properties are more likely to become derelict and blight the neighbourhood with problems.

An empty house can:

  • deteriorate and lose value
  • create a health and safety risk
  • attract squatters, vandals, burglars and antisocial behaviour

Reporting an empty home

If you notice an empty or derelict home, you should contact the council in your area. They're responsible for investigating derelict and dangerous buildings.

Bring your empty home back into use

If you own an empty dwelling,  you should consider the advantages of bringing the property back into use as a home.

You could:

  • rent to a tenant
  • sell the property 

Benefits to the local community  

There is a demand for affordable housing in parts of Northern Ireland. An empty home could provide housing to rent or buy.

Bringing an empty home back into use can:

  • improve the appearance of the neighbourhood
  • provide housing for local people in need of a home
  • reduce the likelihood of burglary
  • reduce antisocial behaviour, for example, due to fire, vandalism, fly tipping, squatters and crime

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