Calls for vacant property tax to be introduced to help combat housing crisis

Calls have been made for a vacant property tax to be introduced to combat Ireland’s housing crisis.

According to the 2016 Census, there were 183,000 vacant dwellings in the country including 139 private dwellings in Meath.

Derelict buildings, along with vacant properties and sites are contributing significantly to Ireland’s housing crisis according to cathaoirleach Meath Co Council, Cllr Sean Drew who said:

“We need to reduce significantly the number of vacant homes throughout Ireland and specifically in Meath. New homes need to be created from existing vacant dwellings. Apart from providing accommodation to people with a housing need bringing vacant homes back into use helps rejuvenate areas in decline.

“I have consistently raised this issue at Council level over recent years, as it is obvious that there is a huge untapped reserve of vacant property that could be upgraded into homes.

“This could be done more quickly than new builds and it’s more sustainable because it’s already in urban areas with all the necessary infrastructure and services (water, sewage, power, etc) already in place.

“I personally also believe that a vacant property tax needs to be introduced and at a high enough rate to make it work and ensure that owners either sell on immediately or renovate.

“Hoarding of property must be stamped out. In addition, an enforceable dereliction tax and rebuild incentives are critical tools to bring back into use as many of the 183,000 vacant dwellings as possible.”

Mr Drew says some incentives that should be considered include, a reduction in the Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax rates on residential property, extension of the Living City Initiative to all urban areas and expansion of the Help to Buy scheme to first time buyers of vacant houses. wants to raise awareness of the blight of vacant homes and to seek the public’s help in addressing this issue.

“If you are aware of a vacant property in your local Meath town or village, please report it by submitting details on the website portal. Meath County Councils housing department will then make efforts to contact the owners to determine if it is possible to bring the property back into use.”

“As a starting point in this process please visit to report any vacant dwellings locally to Meath County Council.”