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Vacant Property Tax will generate much needed housing supply – O’Dowd

21st May 2021 - Fergus O'Dowd TD

Fine Gael TD, Fergus O’Dowd, has said it is time to introduce a vacant home tax to help generate much needed residential housing supply.

The Louth TD welcomed the commitment this week from An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to examine the issue.

Deputy O’Dowd has been campaigning for a number of years to gather support for the implementation of a Vacant Property Tax in Rent Pressure Zones where the property is not a person’s principal primary residence and lies idle.

Deputy O’Dowd said, “I have no doubt the vast majority of the country would back the introduction of a common-sense Vacant Property Tax to generate much needed housing supply.

“We have clear evidence from the city of Vancouver that it will successfully bring vacant units back into use, as they saw a 25% decrease in vacant properties following the introduction of the tax.

“Not only will it encourage vacant property owners to act but the revenue from its introduction could be ringfenced to strengthen the Local Authority Voids budget. The Vancouver model, which now applies a tax on empty homes of 1.25% of the property’s value, would also generate tens of millions of euros each year.

“I welcome the announcement from Government today of a new Local Authority voids programme for 2021 which will provide funding for the refurbishment and re-letting of approximately 3,000 social homes this year. This will build on the success of last year’s record investment in the voids programme which brings much needed properties back into use.

“We need to match this activity in the area of local authority housing with measures for private housing stock. Vacant properties in this country should be considered low lying fruit and the introduction of a Vacant Property Tax would ultimately increase the number of homes to rent, buy and add to our social housing stock.”

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