Vacant Homes Tax figures 'bear no relation to reality' - Bacik

The Vacant Homes Tax was introduced this year and will apply on November 1st each year
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.36 22 Nov 2023

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Vacant Homes Tax figures 'bear...

Vacant Homes Tax figures 'bear no relation to reality' - Bacik

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.36 22 Nov 2023

Share this article

The number of homes subject to the Vacant Homes Tax bear 'no relation to reality', the Labour Party leader has claimed.

Ivana Bacik was speaking as just 3,000 homes across Ireland have been found liable for the new tax.

The Vacant Homes Tax was introduced this year. The annual tax will apply on November 1st each year.


It applies to a property that can be lived in, and have been stayed in for less than 30 days in the previous 12 months.

Deputy Bacik told The Hard Shoulder she does not believe the figures.

"The figures are extraordinary, we're seeing just 3,000 properties subject to the Vacant Homes Tax," she said.

"This is a tiny proportion of the number that was predicted to be eligible.

"We had understood certainly that at least 50,000 might be eligible and that's from the Local Property Tax figures.

"The Census data says that as many as 150,000 properties nationwide may be vacant.

"Across the country, your listeners will be well aware that there is a scourge of vacancy and dereliction in all of our communities.

"I can think even in my own proximity where I live, in Dublin Bay South, several properties on the adjoining streets immediately close to me.

"The official figures [are] bearing no relation to the reality.

"I think it must be very disappointing for Government, frankly, to see so few properties subject to this tax".

'Exemptions need to be reviewed'

Deputy Bacik said some of the conditions attached to the tax will have to change.

"I think certainly the exemptions will need to be reviewed, and indeed I'm sure Government will be reviewing them in light of this extremely low figure," she said.

"I think there's also an issue with self-reporting; clearly that's an issue.

"I suppose the glaring point here is that the Government simply do not know how many vacant and derelict properties there are across the country."

Count and classify

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin told the show he is not surprised by the figures.

"It's almost like this tax was set up not to do what it was designed to do," he said.

"For seven years since the last Government's housing plan, there has been a commitment to actually first of all count the number of actual vacant and derelict homes.

"Also what we need to do is what they do in Scotland - not just count the total number, but classify them.

"Some of these are in probate, some of them are in Fair Deal - you can't go after those.

"Some of them are in parts of the country where people just don't want to live."

'More credible figure'

Deputy Ó Broin said an Oireachtas Committee report has recommended implementing the Scottish model.

"The Department of Housing should, first of all, have a comprehensive count starting with the Census figure and then whittling it down to a more credible figure."

He said until we have more detail, there's not much that can be done.

"I've also kind of worked from an estimate; there is somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 vacant and derelict homes in the State that could be brought back into active use," he said.

"The big frustration here is until you actually know the number - and not just the number, but which ones you can go after - it's very difficult," he added.

The tax does not apply to properties that have been lived in for 30 days in the chargeable period.

Even if a property has not been lived in for 30 days, the tax does not apply if a property has changed ownership during the chargeable period, is exempt from Local Property Tax or was rented for at least 30 days to a registered tenant who is not related to the owner.

Listen back here:

Main image: File photo Labour Leader Ivana Bacik speaking during an annual Labour Party think-in at Whites Hotel in Co Wexford. Image: Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland

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Annual Tax Census Data Eoin O Broin Exemptions Ivana Bacik Local Property Tax The Hard Shoulder Vacant Homes Tax Vacant Properties

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