Survey Maps Extent of Estonia's 'No One Home' Syndrome (1)
The scale of the country's empty flat problem has been mapped in a study commissioned by the Economic Affairs Ministry, which found there are some 500 vacant or partially vacant buildings nationwide.
The study was aimed at buildings with three or more units where at least 25 percent of the flats were empty.
Demographic change, employment trends and depreciation of Soviet-era housing stock have long been seen as contributing to the issue.
A survey was conducted in 72 towns and rural municipalities. The areas with the most semi-vacant buildings were Valga town and Lääne-Viru County.
The study recommends providing more support for local governments to allow people to consolidate in better kept-up buildings and raze the empty ones. The state could provide additional renovation funding to get the new homes into shape.
According to ministry official Margus Sarmet, the biggest problem is all of the apartments are already privatized, which makes it difficult for the local government and state to implement changes.