Vacant house tax a useful tool to increase housing stock

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
06 July 2022

Welcoming news that government will introduce a vacant home tax, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said this is a vital tool in increasing housing stock in the short term.

Senator Moynihan said:

“A vacant home tax is an obvious short term solution to start using vacant and derelict homes to deliver increased housing stock that is so desperately needed. Properties that are left empty for long periods must be taxed to incentivise owners to bring the stock back into the market. The Labour Party has continually advocated for this measure and we need to see the political will now to implement it.

“If you walk around any city, town or village in this country, you will see countless numbers of empty homes lying dormant, entirely unused. People are rightly angry at the level of vacant properties when so many people are without a home and are priced out of the housing and rental market.

“While we await the precise details, the tax must be sufficient to encourage the properties back into the market so they can be repurposed for people. The devil will be in the detail on this. Last August, in advance of the announcement of the Housing for All plan, there were reports that the plan may contain a vacant property tax. We can’t wait another year for this announcement to become a reality. It must be implemented without delay.

“There must be a clear and tangible benefit for communities from this tax, and I would urge government to ensure that the monies collected from such a tax will be relocated to local authorities so that they can bring existing housing stock back up to standard.

“This is just one tool in the government’s armoury and it is no replacement for ramping up the pace of construction of new houses and apartments. Having a safe, secure home is a human right, it’s the benchmark of a decent society and Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have failed to deliver this since 2016. The supply crisis can ultimately only be sustainably resolved through long-term State action that delivers affordable housing once and for all. We look forward to the publication of government’s full proposals on a vacant home tax.”

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