Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
191. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the work being carried out to collect the almost €60,000 in unpaid derelict sites levies in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56822/21]
The Derelict Sites Act 1990 confers significant powers upon local authorities to tackle the problem of dereliction in our towns and cities. The application of the Derelict Sites Levy is only one of these powers, which also include requiring owners or occupiers to take appropriate measures on derelict sites and acquiring derelict sites by agreement or compulsorily. It is a matter for each local authority to determine the most appropriate use of the legislation within their respective functional areas.
My Department has been in contact with Tipperary County Council in this regard. It has reported that it applies the Derelict Site levies on properties that are included on the Derelict Site Register and located in prescribed areas, which involves, inter alia, the following steps:
- Each Financial year a levy demand is issued to registered property owners in January / February.
- If payment is not received, a reminder letter is issued.
- If levies still remain unpaid, interest is charged and recorded within the Council's financial management system, as allowed for in Section 23 of the Derelict Sites Act 1990.
- Staff have ongoing engagement with property owners (including levied property owners) to try to recover levies and get properties remediated and removed from the Derelict Sites Register.
- Difficulties in collecting levies can stem from ownership/probate issues, which can take time to resolve, and from hardship cases, for which a provision to suspend the levy is included in section 26 of the Derelict Sites Act 1990.
My Department intends to engage with local authorities in order to ensure more proactive and effective enforcement of the provisions of the legislation, and is keeping the legislative provisions under review.