Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Vacant Properties

Photo of Marc MacSharryMarc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
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220. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if the vacant property refurbishment grant can be considered where the applicant fulfils the conditions of the scheme and has an independent engineer's report confirming that the vacant property concerned is unsuitable for habitation and structurally unsafe and should be demolished to be replaced with a new dwelling (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12097/23]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Pathway 4 of Housing for All sets out a blueprint to address vacancy and make efficient use of our existing housing stock. The Croí Cónaithe Towns Fund is a key initiative which underpins the policy objectives set out in Pathway Four of Housing for All.

In July 2022, the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant was launched as part of the Croí Cónaithe Towns Fund. The grant benefits those who wish to turn a formerly vacant house or building into their principal private residence. The grant, which was initially launched in respect of vacant properties in towns and villages, was expanded to include eligible vacant properties in both cities and rural areas from 15 November, 2022.

A grant of up to a maximum of €30,000 is available for the refurbishment of vacant properties for occupation as a principal private residence, including the conversion of a property which has not previously been used as residential.

Where the refurbishment costs are expected to exceed the standard grant of up to €30,000, a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000 is available where the property is confirmed by the applicant to be derelict or if the property is on the Derelict Sites Register, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to a maximum of €50,000.

In the case of a top-up grant in respect of a derelict property not on the Derelict Sites Register, an independent report prepared by an appropriately qualified professional is required to be submitted along with the application confirming that the property is derelict.

The level of Grant is contingent on the works approved by the local authority and will be paid based on vouched expenditure following a final inspection by the local authority.

The refurbishment of a vacant property for occupation may involve development that requires planning permission. Where appropriate, an applicant under the scheme will be required to submit evidence that planning permission has been attained prior to final grant approval. In cases where a question arises in relation to whether a proposed development needs planning permission or is an exempted development, an applicant under the scheme will be required to submit a declaration of exemption under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.

The objective of the grant scheme is to bring existing properties back into use. While demolition and extension works can form part of an application for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, such works must be part of a wider refurbishment of the existing dwelling in keeping with the objectives of the scheme.

It is intended that a comprehensive review and evaluation of the schemes under the Croí Cónaithe Towns Fund will be undertaken by mid-2024.


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