Cian O'Callaghan TD

Increased tax rate of 10% is needed to encourage owners of empty homes to sell or rent their properties 

The Social Democrats will bring a Private Members’ Motion before the Dáil this Wednesday, April 19, calling for the introduction of an effective Vacant Homes Tax to help increase the supply of properties to rent or purchase.

Cian O’Callaghan, the party’s spokesperson on Housing, said:

“Ireland’s housing crisis continues to have a devastating impact on people’s lives and their life choices. High levels of vacant homes around the country have been identified by the GeoDirectory and the Central Statistics Office.

“As the Government has consistently failed to meet its delivery targets for social and affordable homes, bringing thousands of vacant properties back into use is one of the quickest and most sustainable ways to increase the supply of housing.

“In Budget 2023, the Minister for Finance introduced a Vacant Homes Tax but set it at a derisory rate of just over 0.3%. This is an ineffective tax that is designed to fail.

“The Government’s tax is all about optics. It creates the illusion of action.

“Our motion calls on the Government to implement a vacancy tax with teeth – with a number of exemptions to allow for genuine cases such as ill health – at a rate that will encourage behavioural change. We believe it should be increased to a rate of 10% and be enforced in a way that will unlock the potential of vacant homes in Ireland.

“There is no moral justification for leaving homes lying empty in the midst of a housing emergency. We want to encourage the owners of a vacant property to either use it, rent it or sell it. It is time we got serious about vacancy levels.”

April 16, 2023

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