Tax vacant homes now

 

Sir, – Eoin Burke-Kennedy’s article (Business, October 25th) outlining that Ireland has the 10th-highest rate of vacancy in the world, comes amid spiralling rents, exponentially increasing house prices, and bulk-buying of homes by institutional landlords.

That the vacant stock is enough to house the homeless population 31-times over is also particularly shocking, and frankly morally bankrupt. It is clear the system is broken. More worryingly, it suggests that we may also be repeating the mistakes of the last crash by facilitating over-building by ignoring the vacant stock issue.

A proper vacant homes tax, an Airbnb ban in major urban areas and rent pressure zones, and a rent cap linked to the market value of the property (perhaps 2-5 per cent of the value, with a higher percentage allowed on lower-value homes) is required urgently to encourage expedient letting of vacant homes.

These should be accompanied by large financial punishments for non-declaration of vacant homes, and a punitive rate for institutional landlords with more than five properties to discourage house and apartment hoarding, which is keeping the rental prices high, fleecing students and professionals, and keeping many young people from being able to afford to buy in urban areas. – Yours, etc,

DIARMUID Ó hICÍ,­

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.