Tax on some 137,000 vacant properties to be advisable by Oireachtas committee

A vacant properties tax must be thought-about by Government whereas a forthcoming zoned land tax must be elevated past the deliberate 3 per cent fee, a brand new Oireachtas committee report is about to suggest.

The report from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, which shall be revealed on Tuesday, can even suggest a rise within the most funding accessible underneath the Repair and Leasing Scheme from the present restrict of €60,000. The scheme was launched to assist convey vacant properties again into use for social housing functions.

The report notes proof given to the committee by architect Mel Reynolds who estimates that there are at present 137,000 vacant properties at current. The debate round emptiness comes at a time when the State is struggling to satisfy the dual pressures of the home housing disaster and the efforts to deal with Ukrainian refugees.

A Government supply stated this weekend that between 150 to 200 refugees proceed to reach daily and that discovering lodging continues to be a problem.

The new report into city regeneration has advisable the institution of a single nationwide platform which might put collectively and validate all current knowledge on emptiness and dereliction.

It has additionally advisable that the Department of Housing ought to conduct an audit of all native authorities to establish what actual knowledge exists on emptiness and dereliction, and that sanctions must be launched for public our bodies that fail to register property belongings.

On the difficulty of a vacant properties tax, the committee says the Government ought to take into account introducing such a measure with “reasonable exemptions”. The Government’s Housing for All plan commits to the gathering of knowledge on emptiness “with a view to introducing a vacant property tax”. In the approaching weeks the Revenue Commissioners will give new figures on emptiness to the Government forward of a choice on such a tax as a part of Budget 2023.

The Coalition has additionally dedicated to a brand new zoned land tax, designed to encourage the development of housing. The tax, which can substitute the present vacant website levy, will goal any unused land zoned and serviced for housing, no matter its dimension. The new tax shall be primarily based in the marketplace worth of the land and the speed shall be set at 3 per cent.

The committee’s report has stated the Government ought to take into account growing the proposed zoned land tax past 3 per cent, “particularly given the current inflationary environment”.

The report additionally recommends the institution of a brand new division within the Department of Housing which might be devoted to tackling emptiness and dereliction, and that an acceptable variety of full-time vacant properties officers could be appointed in every native authority.

There has been debate lately concerning the extent of emptiness throughout the nation. The report notes that whereas statistics from varied companies recommend “an abundance of vacant units within Dublin city, Dublin City Council (DCC) advised that vacancy is much more nuanced than statistics show”.

“In this respect, having carried out a pilot survey in four electoral divisions, DCC identified 213 potentially vacant homes, of which just 49 were confirmed as being vacant, with just 16 of those being confirmed as being vacant long term.”

The council “advised that this dispels the assumption that there are over 30,000 vacant units in the city as per CSO data”.

“DCC advised for many properties identified as vacant or derelict there are often title difficulties, legal and probate issues, and owners with financial or other difficulties preventing them from making use of properties or sites.”

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