The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and the Local Government (Household Charge) Regulations provide the legislative basis for the household charge. The regulations covering the application of the charge included a number of exemptions and waivers. One of the waivers applied to certain unfinished estates on a categorisation basis. Unfinished housing developments were divided into four categories as follows:
Category one, where the development was still being actively completed by the developer, or where no serious public safety issues existed;
Category two, where a receiver had been appointed;
Category three, where a receiver had not been appointed and the developer has still in place but effectively inactive; and
Category four, where the development had been effectively abandoned and posed serious problems for residents.
The household charge waiver applied to estates in categories three and four and as the Riveroaks Estate in Riverstown, was deemed to fall into category 3 it qualifies for the waiver.
An exemption from the local property tax applies to developments listed in the schedule to the Finance (Local Property Tax) Regulations 2013. The list of unfinished housing developments eligible for the exemption was compiled by local authorities utilising the categorisation employed for the purposes of the National Housing Survey 2012. The survey was carried out over the course of summer 2012 by my Department in conjunction with local authorities and the Housing Agency.
The categorisation methodology for the survey was different to that which was used in 2011 and which provided the basis for the waiver from the household charge. The earlier categorisation related largely to the level of on-site activity at the time the 2011 survey was carried out and had less to do with the physical character of a development. The 2012 survey was based purely and objectively on the actual state of completion of a development.
Only developments that were deemed by local authorities to be in a “seriously problematic condition”, regardless of whether a developer was on or off site, were included in the LPT regulations. As the Riveroaks Estate in Riverstown, was considered to satisfy this criterion, it has been exempted from the local property tax for 2013.