Hamburg launches online portal to combat vacant flats and houses

Report vacant accommodation in a few clicks and help relieve tight housing situation
08 September 2023
Sandtorhafen mit Blick auf Gebäude in HafenCity und Elbphilharmonie

The City of Hamburg launched the "Report Vacant Residential Accommodation" website for owners on Thursday (August 31, 2023). Apartments or houses that are vacant for over four months, the abuse of which has been banned since 1971, must be reported to the district office. Residents of Hamburg can also report vacancies anonymously. Hope are now high that the measure might relieve the tight housing market somewhat. 

Online service to secure affordable housing

"We cannot afford to let housing stand empty for no reason or even for strategic reasons. Thus, we have set up a very well-functioning system of housing protection in Hamburg," said Karen Pein, Senator for Urban Development and Housing. Following a vacancy report, the responsible district office must investigate unauthorised misuse of flats. Around 1,259 apartments were returned to the housing market in 2021. The new online service makes it easier to report vacant flats and creates additional inspection capacities. "At the same time, the population can actively help protect housing. This is yet another step towards securing affordable housing in Hamburg."

Optimum use of existing housing

Apart from new construction projects, the best use of existing properties is crucial to ensuring housing at reasonable conditions. "Our goal is to make as much existing housing accessible as possible," said Jan Pörksen, Head of the Senate Chancellery. The new online service shows how community-oriented digitalisation can raise the standard of living in a city. "The online service is an important step towards modern administration as well as an opportunity towards relieve the housing market in Hamburg in the long term," Pörksen added.