Pyrite homes exempted from tax
A pyrite campaign group has welcomed the decision to exempt houses affected by pyrite from the property tax.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan today announced that households with homes suffering from pyrite heave will receive a waiver from the new charge.
Previously the Department of Finance said houses with pyrite would still be liable for the fee. The majority of pyrite-affected houses have no market value the lowest property tax band, of between zero and €100,000, would have seen a pyrite property owner charged €90.
The Pyrite Action Group said it welcomes the move as it is a “recognition of the hardship” faced by pyrite homeowners.
But Sandra Lewis voiced concern about the costs homeowners could face in proving their property is affected by the mineral. She said the Department has not yet released the full details and asked whether people who haven’t been tested will have “to make a decision as to whether to pay €3,000” on tests.
Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell said he hopes the “exact detail” of the exemption is clarified “sooner rather than later”, ideally before Christmas.
The devil will be in the detail, he said, but added that it is unlikely that property owners will face fees stretching into the thousands to prove their home is affected by pyrite.
He suggested houses in estates where lots of properties have pyrite could be presumed to be affected but added where tests are required, the cost is “only a few hundred euro.”
Pyrite was included in hard-core used in the foundations of some homes. When exposed to air or water it became unstable and caused structural damage in the homes, including cracking and buckling of walls and floors.
In July the Pyrite Panel, set up by the Minister for the Environment, said stakeholders including the Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Concrete Federation and home guarantee provider Homebond, should fund repairs to damaged houses and contribute to a remediation fund. Among the panel’s recommendation was that affected homes be exempted from the proposed property tax.
Mr Farrell said any costs incurred in proving a house is affected by pyrite could be recouped through the remediation fund.”