Property tax exemption for mica homeowners will last six years, says Donohoe

A third of LPT-paying homeowners face higher bill, Minister for Finance confirms

The exemption from Local Property Tax (LPT) for owners of pyrite and mica-damaged homes in Donegal and Mayo will last for six years, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told the Oireachtas finance committee on Wednesday.

“I am very much aware of the anxiety – massive anxiety and difficulty – that this is causing, and I really do recognise the difficulty of this for many, many homeowners,” Mr Donohoe said.

He was speaking in response to Sinn Féin finance spokesman and Donegal TD Pearse Doherty, who told the Minister that homeowners would not be able to afford an engineer's report if this was needed to qualify for the exemption.

It was this requirement in relation to the Government’s separate redress scheme for homeowners affected by the “absolutely heartbreaking” defective blocks scandal that had prompted protests in Dublin last month, he said.


“Are you really expecting somebody to fork out €6,000 for an engineer’s report to be exempt from a €300 annual charge?”

Mr Donohoe said he would give more detail about how homeowners can qualify for the exemption at a later point.

Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín questioned the planned the length of the LPT exemption.

“I don’t think anybody thinks that six years will solve the Donegal-Mayo mica issue. Would it not be logical to say that if a property has mica, whether it is six, seven or 10 years, that the family – given that they have been let down by the State, and let down by regulations and enforcement and local authorities – simply won’t be liable to the LPT?”

Mr Donohoe said six years was the same as previous LPT exemptions that had been granted for similar issues in other parts of the country.

“I would expect that Government will have to act in a way as to have this matter dealt with for as many homeowners as we can within a six-year period.”

November reform

More than 100,000 households that were eligible from previous exemptions from LPT are expected to be subject to the tax from November, when a new system of tax bands will come into place and revised property valuations will be used.

Reform of the tax, which will be used to raise finance for local authorities, means first-time buyers who bought properties in 2013 or since then will be eligible to pay LPT for the first time.

The Department of Finance recently indicated that 36 per cent of homeowners would pay a higher tax than they do at present, some 53 per cent won't see any change, while 11 per cent will see their LPT liability fall.

Mr Donohoe said the Government had tried to make the revised system “as affordable as it can be for most” and the majority of homeowners would not see an increase in their bill.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics