Deputy Steven Matthews, Green Party TD for Wicklow, has said that the introduction of the new Vacant Homes Tax will be crucial to addressing the housing crisis and increasing the number of properties available to buy and rent. The Vacant Homes Tax was announced as part of Budget 2023 and will target homes that are occupied for less than 30 days in a 12-month period. The new tax will apply an extra charge to a vacant home of three times the property’s LPT liability on top of its existing LPT charge and is designed as an activation incentive for an empty house rather than a revenue generator.
Speaking following the announcement of the Vacant Homes Tax, Deputy Matthews said:
“I have been pushing for the introduction of a Vacant Homes Tax since I was first elected to the Dáil. The announcement of a new Vacant Property Tax in Budget 2023 is a welcome start towards reducing the number of vacant and derelict properties across the country. Crucially, the tax will be administered by Revenue and this will help to ensure the proper enforcement and collection of levies.
“As Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, I have been working to introduce measures that will increase the supply of affordable housing and return vacant and derelict properties to use. Last May I launched the Urban Regeneration Report which recommended the introduction of a Vacant Homes Tax with reasonable exemptions. Additionally, the Commission on Taxation and Welfare’s report published shortly before the budget advised that a property tax surcharge should be applied to vacant properties.
“While the Vacant Homes Tax announced in Budget 2023 is very welcome, it needs to be charged at a higher rate to act as an incentive to return vacant properties to use. The length of time that a property can remain unoccupied should also be considered and reduced in line with the practices of other European countries with vacant property taxes. I will continue to work with the Minister for Housing to address these concerns and increase the effectiveness of this tax in future.
“Tackling the blight of vacancy and dereliction in our towns and villages across the country is a core policy of the Green Party. Among other measures, we have successfully introduced planning exemptions and the Croí Cónaithe scheme which provides grants up to €50,000 to turn vacant or derelict buildings back into homes. If anyone has questions in relation to this issue, I would encourage them to get in touch with me directly and I will offer any support I can”, Deputy Matthews concluded.