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For Written Answer on : 05/10/2021
Question Number(s): 299,321 Question Reference(s): 47724/21, 48315/21
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: Fergus O’Dowd T.D., David Stanton T.D.


* To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question No. 225 of 1 July 2021 and the publication of the Housing for All strategy, the cost to date to his Department for the provision of funding to each local authority for the post of vacant homes officers in tabular form; if each such local authority has appointed a vacant homes officer, the date of each appointment; if such appointments are full-time dedicated posts with no other responsibilities attached; if not, the other responsibilities; if he has requested an annual report for each such local authority in relation to the work of each vacant homes officer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Fergus O’Dowd T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 5 October, 2021.

* To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question number 139 of 28 September 2021, when he expects all vacant homes officers based in local authorities will be full-time posts; the action he plans to take to make this happen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 5 October, 2021.


My Department has provided funding of €50,000 per annum to each of the 31 local authorities since July 2018. The funding is provided to support the work of the Vacant Homes Office in each local authority each year. All 31 local authorities have claimed the funding up to June 2021. The total amount paid to all 31 local authorities to fund Vacant Homes Offices to date is €4.65m. A circular has now issued from my Department inviting all 31 local authorities to claim the funding for the period July 2021 to June 2022.

Each of the 31 local authorities has appointed a Vacant Homes Officer since 2018, however, there have been many staff changes in local authorities in the past 3 years resulting in various different staff members filling the role.

The table below sets out the date of appointment of the current Vacant Homes Officer and whether the officer is appointed in a full time capacity, dedicated only to the duties of the Vacant Homes Officer, or if they are assigned other responsibilities within the local authority.

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.  This includes ensuring that from Q4 2021 the Vacant Homes Officers based in local authorities are all full-time posts.  

Finally, following the lifting of Covid related restrictions from Q3 2021, the Vacant Homes Officers are required to submit quarterly returns to the Vacant Homes Unit in my Department on the number of properties inspected and number of properties brought back into use through the various schemes in their administrative areas. Returns for Q3 2021 will be submitted shortly.

Local AuthorityDate of Appointment of current VHOFull time dedicated VHO posts
Y / N
Other responsibilities assigned to Vacant Homes Officers who are not in full-time dedicated VHO posts
Carlow County CouncilJul-18NOSenior Executive Officer in Housing overseeing various schemes and projects.
Cavan County CouncilFeb-19YES 
Clare County CouncilJun-21YES 
Cork City Council2019NODerelict Sites / Vacant Sites work / Audit Work / Budgets.
Cork County CouncilFeb-18NOSenior Executive Officer in Housing overseeing various schemes and projects.
Donegal County CouncilJul-18NOResponsibility as SEO for all Housing & Corporate Services delivered via 5 Municipal Districts.  The duties of VHO are decentralised and incorporated into the roles of different staff in different parts of the County.
Dublin City CouncilJan-17YES 
Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County CouncilJune 2019   NOOther duties include administrative tasks in the following sections: Long-Term Leasing; Housing Adaptation Grants; Disabled Persons Alterations  
Fingal County CouncilMay-19NOSocial Housing Delivery Programme.
Galway City CouncilSep-19NOAcquisitions, Long term lease scheme, The Repair and Lease scheme, Mortgage to Rent scheme and Buy & Renew scheme
Galway County CouncilFeb-21NOLong term leasing, Acquisitions
Kerry County CouncilJun-19YES 
Kildare County CouncilJul-18NOAdministrative Officer in the Capital Team with responsibility for the acquisitions/build programmes/Part V/land management/CAS Schemes etc.
Kilkenny County CouncilApr-18NOHousing Capital Projects (sole Architect in KCC); Design, Site appraisal & feasibility, Forward Planning, Consultants Liaison; CAS & CALF project Appraisals; Age-friendly Housing Technical Advisor; Community Projects-RRDF projects; Corporate Project Liaison; Access Officer
Laois County CouncilSep-18NORAS & Leasing, Private Rented Inspections
Leitrim County Council2018 – Sep 2021*NO*Actively recruiting for replacement VHO.
Limerick City and County CouncilJul-20YES 
Longford County CouncilJul-18NOSenior Executive Officer in Housing overseeing various schemes and projects.
Louth County CouncilDec-19NOOversight of Housing Financial Department
Mayo County CouncilJun-18NOCapital Delivery & Housing Policy
Meath County CouncilOct-19NOVacant Housing Office – 90%; Approved Housing Bodies – 10%
Monaghan County CouncilJul-18NODelivering Housing for All Programme
Offaly County CouncilAug-18NODisabled Person Grants
Roscommon County CouncilOct-20 VHO position has been consistently maintained since 2018.VHO post is substantially full time75% of the post-holders’ role is VHO related; Derelict Sites and Dangerous Places; Planning enforcement.
Due to backlogs in some other areas of work, primarily arising from Covid-19 related issues and restrictions, the VHO officer has been deployed in recent months to assist in other areas of work. Prior to that, VHO work accounted for 100% of post-holder activity.
Sligo County Council Sep-18NOPlanning, Enforcement and Building Control
South Dublin County CouncilNov-19NORent Accounts and Assessment; Management of Mortgage/Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans; Tenant Purchase Scheme. The designated VHO is supported by a Housing Inspector who conducts vacant homes inspections and associated follow-up work.
Tipperary County CouncilNov-18YES 
Waterford City and County CouncilJul-18YESAlthough the post is dedicated, the VHO also undertakes Covid-19 compliance duties throughout the Housing Section. The majority of the resource is employed in relation to the RLS scheme.
Westmeath County CouncilJul-18NOBroadband Officer
Wexford County CouncilJul-18NOHomeless Co-Ordinator, Private Rented Sector Enforcement   of Standards; RAS Co-Ordinator; Leasing Co-Ordinator; Repair & Leasing Co-ordinator; Annual and Monthly LG Returns
Wicklow County CouncilDec-20NOHousing   Maintenance; Private rented   accommodation inspections including HAP, leasing & repair and lease inspections. Housing Adaptation Grants