All local authorities have vacant home officers to co-ordinate local actions to address vacancy and also to undertake local vacancy surveys in order to identify - through their Vacant Homes Action Plans - priority "vacancy hot-spot areas" and properties that can be quickly brought back into residential use.
Local authorities continue to undertake vacancy assessment exercises (drilling into available vacancy data), and carrying out or co-ordinating visual inspections / assessment of residential properties in their administrative area, with a view to identifying possible vacant recoverable homes.
Local authorities are primarily interested in identifying potentially long-term (in excess of six months) vacant homes that are located in areas of high housing demand, and where ownership of such properties can be identified, the local authority attempts to engage with the owners on the options available to assist in bringing those properties back into use for in the liveable housing stock.
The cohort of long-term vacant homes that would be of most interest to local authorities in respect of their possible reactivation would include those where the reason for vacancy is identified as, inter-alia, the owner has emigrated, is in hospital/nursing home, or the property is subject to probate (including possible legal disputes over title).
Probate is a legal process and can be both complex and lengthy, however, local authorities continue to monitor potentially long-term properties in their functional areas, irrespective of the reason for vacancy, with a view to engaging with owners when the opportunity arises.