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The tax is due to come into nationwide next year. Alamy Stock Photo
Housing Crisis

Almost half of objections to Dublin City Council against new land-hoarding tax were successful

The tax is due to come into force next year and will target zoned, serviced residential development lands.

ALMOST HALF OF the objections to Dublin City Council from property owners appealing a new land-hoarding tax have succeeded.

New figures reveal that out of 154 submissions, 75 separate appeals were successful at granting the landowner an exemption from the Residential Zoned Land Tax, which comes into force next year.

It has prompted calls from politicians for an explanation of how such a significant of landowners were able to get out of paying the tax.

The Residential Zoned Land Tax will target zoned, serviced residential development lands, including mixed-use lands, and be charged at a rate of 3% of the land’s market value annually.

The government’s aim is for the tax to incentivise landowners to use existing planning permissions for housing.

When launching the plan, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien told of how only one-sixth of residentially-zoned land is activated for housing during a given local authority’s six-year development plan.

Dublin City Council, which provided the figures, did not respond in time for publication when asked to outline the main grounds landowners appealed the tax.

 The 75 exemptions are for the entire site in each case, while the council determined that 59 sites in total would be subject to the tax from next year.

However, where a local authority rules against a landowner they can then appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

A further 11 sites saw a “split decision” resulting in a determination to include part of the site for the tax.

Social Democrats housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan said the figures were disappointing.

“It’s a very high number of exemptions. It’s a tax we want to work but we also need to know if local authorities are applying it consistently across the board,” the Dublin Bay North TD told The Journal.

“There is a lot of land at play here, land which is located in an urban area where the sites are very likely serviced and there should be infrastructure already in place. So I think DCC really needs to explain how there was this high number of exemptions.”

Local Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty, who represents the South West Inner City area, said he had written to the council seeking the main reasons given as justification for why land was no longer exempt.

“These bulk numbers are interesting in the midst of a housing crisis when this is supposed to activate land but it doesn’t really bode well if in the biggest authority in the state that half of landowners can get an exemption,” he said.

It should be very difficult for a landowner to weasel out of this tax but in almost half of the circumstances DCC deemed to exempt them.

Figures published yesterday show the number of people homeless has reached a record high for the second month in a row, with 12,259 accessing emergency accommodation in April 2023.

It makes for a 22% increase in homelessness in the last year, with Dublin by far having the highest number seeking emergency accommodation at 6,288 people.

“In some parts of the DCC areas, like the North Central area, there are big brown and greenfield sites which could well succeed in being exempt,” Moriarty said.

“But I would have thought the vast majority of sites subject to this would be urban infill sites which are now derelict and disused. That’s why we need the council to break this down and outline what happened.”

When contacted, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said the residential zonings are considered “to reflect the housing need” set out within the core strategy for each local authority area.

It said that supplemental maps have been published detailing the locations falling under the tax and said that it aims to ensure that lands which are zoned for residential purposes and which have benefitted from investment in services are actively managed to ensure a constant supply of housing to meet identified need. 

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