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Vacant Sites

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 17 November 2021

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Questions (84, 85)

Thomas Gould

Question:

84. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the funding his Department will give to the role of vacant homes officer by local authority for 2021, in tabular form. [56328/21]

View answer

Thomas Gould

Question:

85. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the role of the vacant homes officer; and if they have a responsibility for dereliction. [56329/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 85 together.

Since 2018, my Department has provided funding to each local authority of €50,000 per annum to support the work of a Vacant Homes Office including a Vacant Homes Officer.

As part of Housing for All, the Government has committed to a range of actions as part of the pathway to address vacancy ensuring the efficient use of housing stock. Addressing vacancy and maximising the use of existing housing stock is a primary concern of this Government and the new Housing for All Strategy outlines a multi-faceted approach to addressing this matter, including:

- A new local authority-led programme to help Local Authorities buy or compulsory purchase 2,500 vacant homes in their areas which can then be sold on the open market will ensure homes don’t lie vacant.

- Reform of the Fair Deal Scheme to remove disincentives to selling or renting unused homes.

- The Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund will be delivered by local authorities for the provision of serviced sites for housing, to attract people to build their own homes and to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, enabling people to live in small towns and villages, in a sustainable way.

- A new Town Centre First policy, which will include approaches to utilising existing stock and new financial incentive mechanisms.

These measures are in addition to the vacant property tax and vacant site tax being pursued by the Department of Finance.

The Derelict Sites Act 1990 (revised March 2020) is a key tool utilised to tackle dereliction. My Department continues to liaise with local authorities on the implementation of the Derelict Sites Act with a view to improving its effectiveness, and continues to keep the relevant provisions under review.

An important action under Housing for All is ensuring that the Vacant Homes Officers based in local authorities are all full-time posts, and this will include providing clarity in relation to their role in the light of the actions under Housing for All.

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 84.
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