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Just €1.1m collected in levies on derelict sites despite the landowners owing €4.5m


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Owners of derelict sites have paid less than a quarter of the €4.5m they owed in levies to local authorities last year.

Just under €1.1m of levies on such sites has been received for 2021 by city and county councils – a collection rate of just 23pc.

Department of Housing figures reveal only 368 landowners out of 1,113 issued with a notice by their local council were levied for 2021.

A total of 1,251 properties were listed on derelict site registers at the end of 2021.

Only seven local authorities have collected any amount due under the levy for 2021: Carlow, Cork city, Dublin city, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Kildare, Limerick and Mayo.

Eighteen councils failed to collect any levy despite issuing notices to the owners of more than 400 sites. In addition, councils in Donegal and Leitrim did not issue any demands for payment of the levy last year, despite having 18 and 36 sites on their registers respectively.

Nine councils – Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway county, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan, Sligo and Waterford – have not collected any levies in any year from the owners of derelict sites.

Cork City Council collected the largest amount in levies at €570,000, ahead of Dublin City Council with €417,447.

The cumulative amount owed by the owners of derelict sites to councils for the levy going back to its introduction has now reached more than €12.6m.

Dublin City Council is owed the largest amount in arrears of the levy at almost €4.8m, with Cork City Council due a total of €4.2m and Limerick City and County Council almost €1.1m.

The Derelict Site Levy – which is similar to the Vacant Site Levy – can be imposed on the owners of sites that are considered in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition, as well as sites considered in a neglected, unsightly or objectionable condition.

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The current annual levy is set at a rate of 7pc of the value of the site.

Many local authorities claim difficulties in collecting levies on vacant and derelict sites have arisen from staffing issues as well as changes of ownership and development of properties.

An analysis of the department’s figures shows derelict sites within the administrative area of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council attracted the highest annual levies at an average of €31,850 per site, ahead of Cork City Council (€28,525) and Dublin City Council (€27,517).

The average levy demanded nationwide of derelict site owners by all local authorities was €12,314, while the lowest average value was €3,208 imposed on sites by Kerry County Council.

Junior Minister for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke said the latest figures were based on annual returns for 2021 from councils.

However, the total amount owed to the country’s 31 local authorities is even higher because the figures exclude updated statistics from four councils – Laois, South Dublin, Westmeath and Wexford.

In response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould, Mr Burke said the total amount of levies collected by local authorities under the Derelict Sites Act 1990 since its establishment was not available.

Mr Burke said addressing vacancy and dereliction and maximising the use of the existing housing stock was a priority objective of the Government.

He said the Department of Housing had also established a focused working group to speedily progress an assessment of submissions received from councils on potential improvements to the Act.

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