Thursday 29 June 2017

Derelict houses to be seized by State

■ 230,000 empty houses to be taxed if not occupied

The seizure of derelict buildings and a tax on vacant homes are among the measures being considered in an effort to alleviate the housing crisis.
The seizure of derelict buildings and a tax on vacant homes are among the measures being considered in an effort to alleviate the housing crisis.

Ralph Riegel and Kevin Doyle

The seizure of derelict buildings and a tax on vacant homes are being considered in a bid to tackle the housing crisis.

An estimated 230,000 houses are lying empty across the country despite hundreds of families living in emergency accommodation.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney said he wants to bring a significant proportion of this vacant housing stock back into use and encouraging property owners to make their properties available will be "a big part of our strategy".

"We need more housing so if we have a lot of vacant houses which aren't being used, that is an obvious way to get a lot of houses back into the system quickly if we can find a way to incentivise bringing those homes back into use."

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen said he wants to see "stronger" compulsory purchase orders so that local authorities can seize derelict premises and make them available for residential or retail purposes.

A Housing Agency report has said there are 230,056 vacant homes across the country - most of them in private hands.

Latest figures from Focus Ireland show the homeless crisis is deepening, with 366 families and 731 children becoming homeless in Dublin alone since the start of the year.

Mr Coveney said he wants to increase the target construction rate of 25,000 new homes each year to 35,000.

Irish Independent

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