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Housing, Local Government and Heritage | Accessing currently empty vacant accommodation for potential housing emergency

To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage the extent to which he can approach all of the problems with a view to accessing currently empty vacant accommodation with a potential for use in a housing emergency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Pathway 4 of Housing for All sets out a blueprint to address vacancy and make efficient use of our existing housing stock. Many areas of cities, towns and villages of all sizes face the blight of vacant properties, which, if brought back into use, could add real vibrancy and provide new accommodation in those areas. Significant progress is being made under Housing for All including:

  • The government launched the Town Centre First policy, a major new policy initiative that aims to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into our town centres.
  • A €150 million Urban Regeneration Development Fund is being made available for local authorities to acquire vacant or derelict properties and sites for re-use or sale.
  • Full-time Vacant Homes Officers are now in place across 30 local authorities.
  • The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, funded by the Croí Cónaithe Towns Fund was launched on 14 July 2022 for eligible vacant properties in towns and villages. On 15 November 2022, the grant was extended to include vacant properties in cities and all rural areas. A grant of up to €30,000 is available for the refurbishment of vacant properties for occupation as a principal private residence. Where a property is derelict, a top up grant of €20,000 is available, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property to €50,000
  • The Ready to Build Scheme, funded by the Croi Cónaithe Towns Fund, was launched on 21 September 2022. Under the scheme, local authorities provide serviced sites in towns and villages at discounted rates for individuals who wish to build their own home.
  • The Fair Deal scheme has been reformed to reduce disincentives to selling /renting unused homes.
  • We have extended planning regulations that exempt certain vacant commercial premises from requiring planning permission to change of use for residential purposes.
  • We will shortly be introducing a new programme for the CPO of vacant properties for resale on the open market.
  • In order to drive take-up of the Repair and Leasing Scheme, criteria were amended which previously required that a property owner must be unable to fund or access funding to bring vacant units up to rental standards.
  • A new short-term letting registration system has been developed, which requires Short Term and Holiday Lets to register with Fáilte Ireland with a view to ensuring that homes are used to best effect in areas of housing need.
  • A Vacant Homes Action Plan was launched in January, which outlines all of the progress that has been made in addressing vacancy along with the actions that are being pursued to return as many vacant properties back to viable use as possible.

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