The vacant site register has become a hot topic of conversation in recent months as many of Ireland’s development firms have begun to fight back against their inclusion on the list. This register was introduced in 2017 in an attempt to deter the hoarding of land in areas that could be utilised for housing development. As we have spoken about recently, housing supply is running low as prices continue to soar so naturally the hoarding of land has become somewhat of a bone of contention.
One issue that development companies are fighting here is the financial cost. Once added to the register, the local council can issue levies of up to 3% of the site’s market value to the owner. The owner will then have 28 days to appeal their inclusion on the list, and failing this, appeal to An Bord Pleanála. This can of course add up to quite significant levies being applied, leading to a number of development firms currently fighting against their local councils to appeal their inclusion on the register including housebuilding giant Glenveagh Properties and Ziggurat, a big name in the student housing business.
According to studies completed by Fora, 39 cases have been appealed to the Board since the beginning of 2017, with 11 having come to an official decision, and only 3 being granted their wish of being removed from the list while 8 were decided to be kept on. Two of the overturned cases related to land owned by the Office of Public Works wherein it was decided that residential properties would not be an agreeable outcome for these sites.
Whilst the effectiveness has been called into question with so few councils taking the land hoarding situation seriously and what was described by Goodbody economist Dermot O’Leary as a “lack of urgency” it seems that there is still room for improvement. Recently, The Minister for Finance has appointed international economic consultancy firm Indecon to complete an independent review of the issue and begin to inform a new government policy in this area. There is currently a period of public consultation until June 29th, so be sure to make your voice heard if you have something to add, or other concerns regarding the taxation of vacant property. This is also an opportunity to suggest alternative options, should you have any in mind.
With housing in such short supply and with these issues being at the forefront of the public mind, this is sure to be an ongoing battle and concern. Should you require any help, advice or guidance on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at EcovisDCA, where we will be happy to support you in getting your business to the next level.