Labour announce Emergency Empty Homes fund of €90 million
The Labour Party has called on Government to introduce an Emergency Empty Homes fund to bring vacant and derelict homes into supply before year end.
Commenting on the measure, Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik said:
“Ireland needs a radical change in housing policy. In the context of the housing disaster brought about by this government and the previous government, we need to implement an ambitious and urgent State-led programme to deliver the much-needed homes for our people and our communities.
“Young people are deeply frustrated, caught in a cycle of ever rising rent and house prices, with rents often consuming nearly half their wages. The crisis for renters has been deepened by the Government’s disastrous decision to lift the temporary no-fault eviction ban earlier this year, without putting in place adequate effective measures by way of safety-nets for those facing eviction
“At a time when a chronic housing shortage exists nationwide, it is shocking to see so many properties remaining vacant – and so little action by Government to tackle this. Bringing these homes into supply for those who need them most is a no-brainer.
“Local Property Tax returns show there were 57,206 properties declared vacant in November 2021, while Census returns indicate that there are 166,752 vacant dwellings in Ireland.
“A Vacant Housing Tax levied at three times the rate of Local Property Tax is finally in place, but enforcement methods must be strengthened, and the rate raised. Labour believes that the rate for this tax should be set at a minimum of €2,000 per year, and levied at 1% of value, with the rate then ratcheting up further every year.
“The purpose of this tax is not to raise revenue but rather to encourage the putting back into use of vacant homes. Thus, if an identified property remains empty, then the Vacant Housing Officers in each local authority should be resourced to proceed with CPO proceedings. Each local authority should have targets on returning vacant and derelict properties into use.
“The housing crisis is the civil rights issue of our generation. It is denying people the basic human right to a safe and affordable place to live. The government needs to do more to address this crisis, and it needs to do it now.”