Vacant Home Tax without teeth is more wasted paper from Housing Minister

30 September 2022

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said with an estimated 31,367 vacant homes in Dublin alone, Government should have brought in meaningful legislation to bring empty homes back into circulation.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The Vacant Homes Tax announced during the Budget is typical Fianna Fáil tactics of delay, delay, delay. The scheme as announced is entirely self-assessed and does not apply to the hundreds of derelict properties lying dormant throughout the country. There are so many exemptions you could drive a truck through it. It is paying lipservice to a systemic issue that the Housing Minister has no interest in resolving.

“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, including derelict homes. The Government’s estimates on the tax suggest that monies collected from such a measure is “not expected to yield significant revenue, with estimates in the region of €3-4 million”. This totally misses the point. The aim of such a measure is to encourage supply back into the market.

“Politics is about choices and about having priorities. The failure to meaningfully attempt to bring existing properties back into supply shows a Minister who relies on spin when it comes to the issue of our generation. A Vacant Homes Tax is no replacement for building homes but it is a tool to alleviate some of the pressures in the market. Having a safe, secure home is a fundamental human right and it is the role of Government to ensure no person in this country is left out on the streets.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have consistently failed to meet the mark on housing since 2016. The supply crisis can only be sustainably resolved through state investment in affordable housing. Yet on the Vacant Home Tax, the Minister has failed to score another open goal.”

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