For Written Answer on : 08/11/2022
Question Number(s): 412 Question Reference(s): 55259/22
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage when he expects that vacant property refurbishment scheme applications will be accepted for rural properties under the extended croí cónaithe towns fund; 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 vibrancy and provide new accommodation in those areas. The Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund is a key initiative which underpins these policy objectives set out in Pathway Four of Housing for All.
Schemes under the Fund, which are delivered by local authorities, provide new choices for people to live in towns and villages in Ireland, through the provision of a grant to support the refurbishment of vacant properties and by providing serviced sites in towns and villages to people in order to build their own homes.
On the 14 July, I launched the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, funded by the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund. The grant will benefit those who wish to turn a formerly vacant house or building into their principal private residence. A grant of up to a maximum of €30,000 is available for the refurbishment of vacant properties for occupation as a principal private residence, including the conversion of a property which has not previously been used as residential. Where the refurbishment costs are expected to exceed the standard grant of up to €30,000, a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000 is available where the property is confirmed to be derelict, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to a maximum of €50,000.
On 21 September, I launched the Ready to Build Scheme, also funded by the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund. Under the Ready to Build Scheme, local authorities will make serviced sites in towns and villages available to potential individual purchasers to build their homes. These sites will be available at a discount on the market value of the site for the building of a property for occupation as the principal private residence of the purchaser.
When the Fund was launched, I committed to ongoing reviews of the schemes under it. Feedback on the Vacant Property Refurbishment Scheme to date has been very positive, with 392 applications reported at the start of November.
Given that Pathway 4 of Housing for All is intended to support re-use of existing buildings and the synergy with the Government’s Our Rural Future policy, I do see the sense in extending the eligibility for the scheme to vacant properties in both our cities and rural areas to ensure we are using our existing housing stock to the fullest extent possible. In that context, I am pleased to say that the Government has decided to extend the Vacant Property Refurbishment Scheme and I expect to have that extension to cities and rural properties in place in the coming weeks.
Vacant Homes Officers in each local authority will be available to provide advice and information on the schemes and the application process.