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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C
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vacant property tax

Government hopes to bring homes into use with new vacant property tax

A vacant homes tax will be set at three times the local property tax to provoke owners to sell or rent.

THE GOVERNMENT MAY ratchet up a new vacant homes tax in the future depending on how it works after it enters force in November, the Taoiseach said today.

The planed new tax will target 60,000 properties across Ireland and it will be at a rate three times that of the local property tax when it enters force at the start of November.

It is aimed at making more housing available by encouraging those who own empty houses to put them up for sale or into the rental market.

Details of a Revenue document were published in the Irish Independent today revealing  a vacant house worth €300,000 will have a rate due of €945.

The levy will apply to all unoccupied homes that have not been used as a dwelling for thirty days between November of last year and the end of October of this year. Exemptions will be included for homes that are undergoing refurbishment or are holiday homes. 

Speaking to The Journal, during a visit to Fota Wildlife Park in Co Cork, Leo Varadkar said that the Government will see if it has an impact long term.

“The idea behind the vacant homes tax is essentially to impose tax returns on homes that are vacant without good reason.

“We have a housing crisis and it shouldn’t be the case that houses or apartments be left vacant in areas of housing demand for a period of time,” he said. 

Varadkar believes that it is not going to be the ultimate solution to the housing crisis but instead will run in tandem with other measures.

“It’s legislated for, it’s coming in and we’ll have to see how it works.

“I’ve decided to start the rate at three times the local property tax, that’s the charge. But we’re open to increasing it in future, we’ll see how it works.

“I don’t think that it’s the panacea that’s going to solve the housing crisis but I do think it can make a contribution. It is about really tipping people, who have a vacant home or apartment away from leaving it vacant and encouraging them to rent it out, or to sell it as the case,” he added. 

IMG_5415 Niall O'Connor / The Journal Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets Bláithín the Giraffe on a visit to Fota Wildlife Park today. Niall O'Connor / The Journal / The Journal

Modular homes

Meanwhile when questioned about failure of the so-called rapid build programme to provide modular homes for Ukrainian refugees he said that the structures take longer to build than people think.

Just 68 modular homes have been provided out of a proposed 700. The Taoiseach said “hundreds of homes” would be provided in time. 

Varadkar said there were a number of reasons for the failure to meet the target so far including getting access to electricity supply.

“I do think that this could help form part of the general issues we have are part of the wider solution when it comes to housing supply.

“But I do know from experience when it does come to modular homes or modular buildings, they’re never as quick to build as people think, think. And they’re not particularly cheap, either. But they are definitely part of the solution,” he added.  

The Taoiseach said that the placing of Ukrainian refugees in tents at the Electric Picnic site would last for six weeks. 

He said: “There will be times when we need to use tents – not during the winter.

“Nobody wants to have to do it but the truth is, we have a huge number of people arriving in the country from Ukraine and from other parts of the world and we have responsibilities to provide them a shelter.

“Tents are not the solution that we want but on occasion they have been used and may have to be used again,” he added.  

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