Skip to main content

For Oral Answer on : 11/04/2024
Question Number(s): 50,71 Question Reference(s): 15717/24, 15716/24
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


* To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage to outline the way in which his Department assists local authorities to compulsorily acquired derelict properties; the amount, if any, that he has made available to each local authority to acquire derelict properties in 2023; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– David Stanton T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 11 April, 2024.

* To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage to outline the guidance, if any, given by his Department to local authorities to assist them with compulsory purchases orders/compulsory purchase acquisitions of derelict properties in their respective areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– David Stanton T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 11 April, 2024.


Addressing vacancy is a key priority for this government.

The Vacant Homes Action Plan, which I launched in January 2023, outlines the significant progress that has been made in addressing vacancy, along with the actions that are being pursued to return vacant properties back into use as homes.

Under the Action Plan, a new CPO Activation Programme was launched by my Department in April 2023. The Programme supports a proactive and systematic approach by local authorities to the activation of vacant properties. It also includes guidance for local authorities to actively use their legislative powers to acquire vacant and derelict properties, where engagement with owners has been unsuccessful. Support and guidance on implementation of the Programme is being provided to local authorities by the Vacant Homes Unit in my Department and by the Property Optimisation Unit in the Housing Agency.

My Department set targets for each local authority on the number of properties to enter the Programme in 2023. Each local authority is to provide data in relation to these properties, activity undertaken by them and outcomes, including the scheme or measure used where the property was brought back into use. My Department will report on the 2023 CPO Activation Programme targets in Q2 2024.

Under the Action Plan, I announced a €150 million Urban Regeneration Development Fund for local authorities to acquire vacant or derelict properties for re-use or sale, using their compulsory purchase powers were necessary. The Fund will be replenished from the proceeds received from the sale or reuse of a site, allowing a local authority to establish a rolling programme to tackle vacancy.

In addition to URDF funding, the Social Housing Capital Funding Programmes (Social Housing Investment Programme (SHIP) and the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS)) support local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to tackle dereliction and vacancy through the repurposing/renewing of vacant buildings and blocks as new social homes. The funding for re-purposing/renewing vacant buildings or blocks as new social homes, including single ‘Buy & Renew’ properties is drawn from the €1.4 billion capital funding available under the SHIP and CAS programmes and is demand-led. There is, therefore, significant available funding that local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies can draw on in relation to these initiatives.

Planning regulations, introduced in 2018, which exempted certain vacant commercial premises, including ‘over the shop’ type spaces, from requiring planning permission to change to residential purposes have been extended until 2025. The scope of the exemption was also extended to include ‘public houses’.

Under Action 97 of the updated Housing for All Action Plan, my Department has convened a Working Group “to assess and make recommendations in relation to the overall potential for the development of vacant commercial properties for housing and examine the scope for planning exception, subject to planning considerations and housing need”. The group, which is chaired by my Department, is comprised of senior officials from my Department, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Office of Public Works, local authorities, the Local Government Management Agency and private sector professionals.

The most efficient home to deliver is one which already exists. I firmly believe that the commitment this Government has made to addressing vacancy and dereliction will continue to play a vital role in delivering homes and revitalising local communities.