Dublin vacant sites register comes into force

At least 385 properties deemed eligible for land-hoarding levy payable from 2019

To be hit with the levy,   sites must be bigger than 0.05 of a hectare, be “idle” for more than 12 months, be zoned for residential or regeneration purposes, and be in an area in need of housing.  Photograph: Eric Luke

To be hit with the levy, sites must be bigger than 0.05 of a hectare, be “idle” for more than 12 months, be zoned for residential or regeneration purposes, and be in an area in need of housing. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

At least 385 properties will be placed on Dublin City Council’s register of vacant sites, twice as many as expected three months ago.

The register of vacant sites, which allows local authorities to impose a levy on property owners who fail to develop prime housing land, came into force on January 1st.

However the levy, set at 3 per cent of the market value of a site, will not be payable until January 2019.

Local authorities were ordered to have a vacant sites register in place by New Year’s Day. The council must notify property owners before June 1st, 2018 that they will be charged the levy in respect of that year and it will be payable in 2019, and every year thereafter until the site is no longer vacant.

While Dublin City Council has established its register, it is currently blank as, the council said, it is in the process of satisfying itself that the sites identified have been vacant for the last 12 months.

It said it will begin notifying property owners in the first quarter of this year of its intention to include their property on the register.

Criteria

To be hit with the levy, the vacant sites must be bigger than 0.05 of a hectare, excluding gardens. The majority of the site must be “vacant or idle” for more than 12 months, be zoned for residential or regeneration purposes, and be in an area in need of housing.

Officials visited 971 sites the council suspected could be eligible for the levy. So far it has determined that 385 are eligible. Some 272 have been deemed not vacant or did not meet some other criteria for the levy, and 174 sites were under the 0.05 hectare threshold. Reports on the remaining 140 are being finalised.

Property owners have 28 days to object to their site being put on the register, after they are notified by the council. If the council decides the property should still be on the register, the owner has another 28 days to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Owners can appeal again when they are informed, by June 1st 2018, of the intention to impose the levy. They can also appeal the valuation put on their sites.