It should be "financially unviable" for property owners to hold onto vacant or derelict properties for over a year, according to housing expert Rory Hearne.
Dr Hearne, assistant professor in social policy at Maynooth University, believes a vacant property tax must be 'punitive' - such as 10% of market value.
The Government has frequently indicated that it plans to introduce a vacant property tax, although full details of how it would work didn't make it into last year's much-vaunted 'Housing for All' plan.
Dr Hearne - who put forward his own proposals in a recent Irish Examiner article - said his concern would be that such a tax wouldn't be "significantly punitive enough".
He told Newstalk Breakfast: "Unless we make it financially unviable for somebody to hold onto vacant and derelict property - and I’m talking properties that are vacant for over a year - then we’ll just be left with the problem.
“In the midst of a housing crisis and shortage, it shouldn’t be the case that property owners can - and do - sit there with derelict and vacant properties.”
Dr Hearne said if an owner can’t afford to do the necessary repairs, the State should look at compulsory purchase or sale orders - then invest in the property and refurbish it.
He stressed that a number of approaches are needed to deal with the issue, not just a tax.
However, he believes the tax should cover all properties - from derelict homes to vacant commercial buildings.
'There are good reasons for dereliction'
Financial analyst Karl Deeter believes Dr Hearne's proposal is "madness".
He argued: “[Rory] wrote about using a 10% tax on property… if it was that simple, some bright spark would have come up with this year ago.
“Putting the Government front and centre of this would be an error - the biggest land hoarder and owner of vacant/derelict properties in this country is the Government itself. And they haven’t done a very good job of that - that’s part of why the Land Development Agency was created.
“The solution isn’t to be punitive, because there are good reasons for dereliction."
Mr Deeter suggested a range of potential reasons a property may be lying vacant - including a property owner saving up for essential repairs, or the owner having gone into long-term care.
He said: “While you’re trying to get some nefarious capitalist who’s hoarding land, what will likely happen is some granny will get a €20,000 tax bill that will scare her half to death."
He said owners of vacant homes or commercial properties still have the usual financial burdens of owning property, whether that's commercial rates or the local property tax.
However, he added that local authorities should do the job they're already paid to do and "get on top of derelict properties" in their area.