Written answers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Vacant Properties

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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42. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of properties which have been listed as derelict by local authorities; the number which have been served notices to remedy dereliction in the most recent year for which he has data available; if he is satisfied that this legislation is an effective policy instrument to address problems of neglected vacant property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59574/21]

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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The information requested is outlined in the table below, as per the most recent returns from local authorities relating to the year 2020.

Addressing vacancy and maximising the use of the existing housing stock is a primary concern of this Government, as demonstrated by one of the four pathways dedicated solely to this priority area in the new Housing for All strategy.

In addition to the powers given to local authorities under the Derelict Sites Act 1990 and under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 (Vacant Sites Levy), work is underway by the Department of Finance through the current Local Property Tax returns for the purpose of assessing and obtaining comprehensive data on the present vacancy situation and once collated and analysed, this data will contribute to an assessment of the merits and impact of introducting a vacant property tax.  In addition, there are a number of policy initiatives outlined in Housing for All focussed on addressing vacancy in the existing stock,  including:

- A new local authority-led programme to help local authorities buy or compulsory purchase 2,500 vacant homes in their areas which can then be sold on the open market to ensure homes do not lie vacant.

- Reform of the Fair Deal Scheme to remove disincentives to selling or renting unused homes.

- The Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund will be delivered by local authorities for the provision of serviced sites for housing, to attract people to build their own homes and to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, enabling people to live in small towns and villages, in a sustainable way.

These will be advanced in the context of the Town Centre First policy to be shortly be announced by Government, and which is already factored into ta number of the investment approaches under the National Development Plan.

My Department continues to liaise with local authorities on the implementation of the Derelict Sites Act with a view to improving its effectiveness, and continues to keep the relevant provisions under review.


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