Pyrite homes included in property tax
A Minister of State has called for a property tax exemption for houses affected by pyrite.
The Department of Finance has confirmed households affected by the naturally occurring mineral will be liable for the new charge, despite earlier recommendations for an exemption.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Shane McEntee said he disagreed with this decision and said people whose “houses are worth nothing” should have to pay a tax at 0.18 per cent of the property’s value.
Even though the majority of pyrite-affected houses have no market value the lowest property tax band, of between zero and €100,000, will see a property owner charged €90.
Mr McEntee said he thought the exemption “would be a given” and added “I will be pushing for it.” Senior Ministers said today the Budget would not be revised.
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. Among the panel’s recommendation was that affected homes be exempted from the proposed property tax.
A campaign group, the Pyrite Action Group, today said it was “ridiculous that first time buyers should be given an exemption” at a time when house prices are so low while pyrite home owners “who paid through the nose” should be liable for the charge.
Sandra Lewis said the group would never tell homeowners not to pay the tax but warned “there will be resistance”. She said the charge added “insult to injury” for the “squeezed middle” who bought affected homes.
Pyrite homes essentially had no value, she argued, saying an exemption should be a “no-brainer”. Homeowners might now have to pay to “get a valuer in to tell you it’s worthless”, she said. “But it shouldn’t have to come to that. The houses are structurally defective; they’re a throwback from the boom.”
The Dáil this week discussed a pyrite remediation programme. Speaking on behalf of Environment Minister Phil Hogan, Fergus O’Dowd TD said final arrangements for the establishment of a resolution board were being made with consideration of the final written positions of the stakeholders.