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Have FG finally noticed we have a vacant properties problem?

  • 31-05-2021 6:47pm
    #1
    Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Interesting letter in todays IT backing the introduction of a vacant homes tax, not least because of who wrote it - Cllr John Kennedy, (Fine Gael), Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown:
    The prospect of using fiscal policy to reduce vacancy is enticing given the estimated potential reservoir of approximately 245,000 (already built) vacant homes as per Census 2016.

    Going from the 2017 attitude of nothing to see here, we don't have a vacancy problem to stating we have a "potential reservoir" of vacant properties is quite a shift.

    One of the causes of these vacancies is Airbnb, which has attracted the wrath of Fine Gael senator Tim Lombard, describing Airbnb as 'another cuckoo in the rental market.'
    One consequence of this is that by letting properties on a seasonal basis, large amounts of homes across the country are lying vacant for most of the year.

    Mr Lombard added: ‘While tourists might want to book a holiday home for a two-week break during the summer, local families are left struggling to find a home at a price they can afford.’

    What could have caused the sudden focus on a problem that has been obvious since 2016? SF polling figures would be my guess.

    Perhaps we'll finally see FG open the floodgates on this 'potential reservoir'.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,991 ✭✭✭ Taylor365


    schmittel wrote: »
    Interesting letter in todays IT backing the introduction of a vacant homes tax, not least because of who wrote it - Cllr John Kennedy, (Fine Gael), Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown:



    Going from the 2017 attitude of nothing to see here, we don't have a vacancy problem to stating we have a "potential reservoir" of vacant properties is quite a shift.

    One of the causes of these vacancies is Airbnb, which has attracted the wrath of Fine Gael senator Tim Lombard, describing Airbnb as 'another cuckoo in the rental market.'



    What could have caused the sudden focus on a problem that has been obvious since 2016? SF polling figures would be my guess.

    Perhaps we'll finally see FG open the floodgates on this 'potential reservoir'.
    No Chance. It is an easy return for the big funds, pension or otherwise: Buy up and let it sit and appreciate.



    When banks are charging to hold cash, 1-6% per year is easy money.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Taylor365 wrote: »
    No Chance. It is an easy return for the big funds, pension or otherwise: Buy up and let it sit and appreciate.

    When banks are charging to hold cash, 1-6% per year is easy money.

    A year ago I would have agreed with you, FG showed no enthusiasm for a vacancy tax, and were studiously ignoring the issue, for precisely that reason.

    But the difference now is they have realised that if they don't do something fast to improve supply, SF are a shoe in for the next election.

    That's why all of a sudden it's on the agenda.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,338 ✭✭✭✭ Dav010


    schmittel wrote: »
    A year ago I would have agreed with you, FG showed no enthusiasm for a vacancy tax, and were studiously ignoring the issue, for precisely that reason.

    But the difference now is they have realised that if they don't do something fast to improve supply, SF are a shoe in for the next election.

    That's why all of a sudden it's on the agenda.

    A week ago Varadker said it would be extremely difficult to legislate for a vacancy tax due to the multitude of legitimate reasons why a property may be empty, now people think they suddenly will overcome these difficulties?

    I can’t wait to hear how SF will save the day for buyers/renters, the last time out they were clueless about how to do it, and where the money would come from.


  • Registered Users Posts: 510 ✭✭✭ Cal4567


    FF trying to claim ownership of a solution of their own making. Even more so when it was they who brought in the 2017 vacant tax in the first place that has resulted in a less than enthusiastic effort by Councils to enforce.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Dav010 wrote: »
    A week ago Varadker said it would be extremely difficult to legislate for a vacancy tax due to the multitude of legitimate reasons why a property may be empty, now people think they suddenly will overcome these difficulties?

    I can’t wait to hear how SF will save the day for buyers/renters, the last time out they were clueless about how to do it, and where the money would come from.

    There are no difficulties in legislating for a vacancy tax - that's nonsense.

    Revenue routinely handle significantly more complex tax issues than this.

    We have managed to legislate a corporate tax structure that has had us labelled as a tax haven by prominent critics in both the US and the EU, and we are expected to believe that we cannot legislate a vacant property tax? Absurd.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,502 ✭✭✭ Outkast_IRE


    As someone who has previously voted FG in each election. They are ****ed, along with FF and they completely deserve it. They stupidly thought the private market would kick in and by and large fix the housing crisis for them, ignoring the fact that lots of western countries have taken the same approach and it hasnt worked.


    FG and FF will not be in government in the next election. Housing in every city is ****ed , its not just a Dublin problem. Housing in every coastal town around the country is getting bought up by international investors and no locals can afford it. Its a countrywide problem that has largely developed with FG at the helm and FF in tow.



    I dont think i can in good conscience vote SF as they have serious issues of their own. But i will not be casting a vote for FF or FG in the next election and many others are the same.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,338 ✭✭✭✭ Dav010


    schmittel wrote: »
    There are no difficulties in legislating for a vacancy tax - that's nonsense.

    Revenue routinely handle significantly more complex tax issues than this.

    We have managed to legislate a corporate tax structure that has had us labelled as a tax haven by prominent critics in both the US and the EU, and we are expected to believe that we cannot legislate a vacant property tax? Absurd.

    See, this is the problem. Shinners supporters think everything is easy to solve, and legislation is easy to apply.

    There are a vast number of reasons why a property could be vacant, illness, working abroad, living abroad part time, probate, refurbishment, planning issues, marriage breakdown, issues with title, property for sale, property awaiting electricity/utilities connections etc, etc, etc, but you think all should pay vacant property tax, even though there are legitimate reasons for vacancy? This is what Varadker said would make drafting/applying legislation difficult.

    How many vacant property owners will declare their property vacant, without giving a reason, should legislation be introduced? I’d say close to zero.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Dav010 wrote: »
    See, this is the problem. Shinners supporters think everything is easy to solve, and legislation is easy to apply.

    I have never voted SF, and never will. But some of their housing policies make more sense than FF/FG and I completely understand why they are outpolling FF/FG.
    Dav010 wrote: »
    There are a vast number of reasons why a property could be vacant, illness, working abroad, living abroad part time, probate, refurbishment, planning issues, marriage breakdown, issues with title, property for sale, property awaiting electricity/utilities connections etc, etc, etc, but you think all should pay vacant property tax, even though there are legitimate reasons for vacancy?

    No I don't think all should pay vacancy tax without exception.

    How did we manage to legislate and administer the NPPR?

    It had exemptions. If you qualified as an exemption and could prove it you didn't have to pay it. Simple.
    Dav010 wrote: »
    How many vacant property owners will declare their property vacant, without giving a reason, should legislation be introduced.

    Just like the NPPR charge. If you don't declare it, you'll have problems selling it, because you cannot get a cert of compliance if you cannot show it was paid or exempt. Straightforward.

    We have done pretty much exactly the same thing before.

    Can you explain what are the obstacles to doing it again?


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,338 ✭✭✭✭ Dav010


    schmittel wrote: »

    Can you explain what are the obstacles to doing it again?

    Yes, there are a multitude of genuine reasons why a property can be vacant. Any legislation will have to include a multitude of exemptions so as not to tax genuine vacancies unfairly, this is the challenge/difficulty, how to allow for those exemptions, and decide on which are genuinely being claimed, and which are not.

    NPPR was simpler to apply, if the property was not your primary residence, it was subject to the charge.

    You know you can use google and read the comments made by Varadker and Pascal Donoghue yourself.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Dav010 wrote: »
    Yes, there are a multitude of genuine reasons why a property can be vacant. Any legislation will have to include a multitude of exemptions so as not to tax genuine vacancies unfairly, this is the challenge/difficulty, how to allow for those exemptions, and decide on which are genuinely being claimed, and which are not.

    You know you can use google and read the comments made by Varadker and Pascal Donoghue yourself.

    Tax to apply only to properties in RPZs. Exemptions to apply for Fair Deal, hospital, probate, renovation, live planning applications.

    Simple.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,546 ✭✭✭✭ Ace2007


    Also what exactly is a vacant property -

    if someone lives in Ireland PT, and pays tax here - is there property deemed vacant?

    Does it have to be vacant for the whole year?

    What about all the holiday homes dotted around the country

    Do Caravans count - given that some people in them through out the year

    What about boats?

    What about houses being used as offices - should this be allowed?

    Student accommodation that is all full 9 month of year - does this get taxed for the 3 months they are empty?

    What bout those in nursing homes, empty house due to probate, divorce settlements, flooded house, houses owned by someone in long stay in hospital, someone in prison, houses declared unsafe to live it, houses falling down because of mica problems, houses in ghost estates that no one will buy.

    The list is endless


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,338 ✭✭✭✭ Dav010


    schmittel wrote: »
    ,

    ...........renovation,

    Simple.

    That’s the one I’d use. Simple, but effective. If it was a new build, simple to leave electric unconnected, that used to exempt houses from LPT as property in uninhabitable if memory serves me right.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,546 ✭✭✭✭ Ace2007


    Your saying most are covered by exemptions, so what does that leave really?

    If i have a house and put in on the market to rent and no one will rent it - do I have to pay the tax? That's literally all anyone has to do - is SF going to come along and tell the home owner how much they have to rent it out for?

    There are so few vacant houses that would actual qualify for any tax


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,000 ✭✭✭ Hubertj


    If, and big IF, they do put something in place it would be good to get insight into the vacancies.

    As already discussed there will be a lot of exemptions and rightly so.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Ace2007 wrote: »
    Your saying most are covered by exemptions, so what does that leave really?

    If i have a house and put in on the market to rent and no one will rent it - do I have to pay the tax? That's literally all anyone has to do - is SF going to come along and tell the home owner how much they have to rent it out for?

    There are so few vacant houses that would actual qualify for any tax

    If you put a house up for rent in an RPZ and it takes longer than 6 months to find a tenant, yes you have to pay the tax.

    Of course SF or anybody else is not going to tell you how much they have to rent it out for. The market will do that for you.

    If you don't like the market price, pay the tax. Very simple.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,000 ✭✭✭ Hubertj


    schmittel wrote: »
    Tax to apply only to properties in RPZs. Exemptions to apply for Fair Deal, hospital, probate, renovation, live planning applications.

    Simple.

    I think there will be plenty more exceptions than that. Work secondment, retired people who split time between here and Spain etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,954 ✭✭✭ blackbox


    Ace2007 wrote: »
    Your saying most are covered by exemptions, so what does that leave really?

    If i have a house and put in on the market to rent and no one will rent it - do I have to pay the tax? That's literally all anyone has to do - is SF going to come along and tell the home owner how much they have to rent it out for?

    There are so few vacant houses that would actual qualify for any tax

    What if I am trying to sell my vacant house? Will I have to pay tax on that? If nobody else wants to buy it will the Government buy it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,306 ✭✭✭✭ jimmycrackcorm


    As someone who has previously voted FG in each election. They are ****ed, along with FF and they completely deserve it. They stupidly thought the private market would kick in and by and large fix the housing crisis for them, ignoring the fact that lots of western countries have taken the same approach and it hasnt worked.


    FG and FF will not be in government in the next election. Housing in every city is ****ed , its not just a Dublin problem. Housing in every coastal town around the country is getting bought up by international investors and no locals can afford it. Its a countrywide problem that has largely developed with FG at the helm and FF in tow.



    I dont think i can in good conscience vote SF as they have serious issues of their own. But i will not be casting a vote for FF or FG in the next election and many others are the same.

    There are quite a large number of voters who own houses and have other voting concerns than housing. SF is just as interested in appeasing them, which is why housing spokesperson Eoin O'Broin objected to a development in his own constituency.

    SF's own published vacant homes strategy: (Policy Briefing paper No.5) is whimsical - including this gem:

    " The cost of delivering these 21,600 units would be approximately €100k per unit totaling €360m per year and €2.1bn over six years"


  • Registered Users Posts: 206 ✭✭ BuzzMcdonnell


    I’m not sure I’d agree with just having a vacant property tax apply to properties in RPZ’s only.

    I live in a rural village in the west of Ireland. On my street there are, without exaggeration, 10 vacant properties in the space of about 200 metres. I’ve lived here all my life and a few of these houses are empty since the late 90’s and all have been empty at least 5 years. I know of 2 which are owned by an individual who left for the states in the late 90’s and hasn’t been back since, yet the properties have never been put up for sale and are becoming dilapidated.

    You hear about how rural communities are in decline but is it any wonder when properties are being left empty to rot on a Main Street of a village?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ howwatermelon


    I’m not sure I’d agree with just having a vacant property tax apply to properties in RPZ’s only.

    I live in a rural village in the west of Ireland. On my street there are, without exaggeration, 10 vacant properties in the space of about 200 metres. I’ve lived here all my life and a few of these houses are empty since the late 90’s and all have been empty at least 5 years. I know of 2 which are owned by an individual who left for the states in the late 90’s and hasn’t been back since, yet the properties have never been put up for sale and are becoming dilapidated.

    You hear about how rural communities are in decline but is it any wonder when properties are being left empty to rot on a Main Street of a village?

    Second this. There are lots of towns in Ireland with LOTS of empty properties falling into disrepair. Regeneration of these areas would drive people back to the areas and the knock on effect of more dense urban living, less cars etc. Right now where I live, I can see 5, 4 bedroom houses, with sizeable gardens that have not been occupied since 2007. They wouldn’t even need significant renovation to be brought into use.
    Maybe a vacant property tax is the way to go.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Hubertj wrote: »
    I think there will be plenty more exceptions than that. Work secondment, retired people who split time between here and Spain etc.

    Again, exempt all PPRs which will cover most reasonable eventualities.

    You can do what you like with your PPR but if you have a vacant second property it is in line for tax unless you qualify for one of the limited exemptions.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    blackbox wrote: »
    What if I am trying to sell my vacant house? Will I have to pay tax on that? If nobody else wants to buy it will the Government buy it?

    If it is your PPR and you're happy to take 3 years to sell it, knock yourself out.

    If it is not your PPR, and it is in an RPZ taking longer than 6 months to sell, drop the price or pay the tax.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    I’m not sure I’d agree with just having a vacant property tax apply to properties in RPZ’s only.

    I live in a rural village in the west of Ireland. On my street there are, without exaggeration, 10 vacant properties in the space of about 200 metres. I’ve lived here all my life and a few of these houses are empty since the late 90’s and all have been empty at least 5 years. I know of 2 which are owned by an individual who left for the states in the late 90’s and hasn’t been back since, yet the properties have never been put up for sale and are becoming dilapidated.

    You hear about how rural communities are in decline but is it any wonder when properties are being left empty to rot on a Main Street of a village?

    One of the reasons I think it should be in RPZs only is Airbnb is a big driver of vacancy. And this drives up demand and cost in already high demand and cost areas.

    In rural villages most often the reason they are vacant is because there is no demand - I don't think you can/should penalise property owners for that.

    If you push the airbnb investors out of cities they might look to rural villages for their investments thereby creating demand in those areas and cleaning the places up, making them more attractive and so on and so forth.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 320 ✭✭ Dr. Em


    Second this. There are lots of towns in Ireland with LOTS of empty properties falling into disrepair. Regeneration of these areas would drive people back to the areas and the knock on effect of more dense urban living, less cars etc. Right now where I live, I can see 5, 4 bedroom houses, with sizeable gardens that have not been occupied since 2007. They wouldn’t even need significant renovation to be brought into use.
    Maybe a vacant property tax is the way to go.

    Same. I rented for years in a rural area and there was a desperate shortage of places to rent, despite half the houses in the area lying empty. In most cases, the owners had inherited the empty houses and had no interest in fixing them up, selling them, or renting them, but wanted to keep them in the family 'just in case'. There needs to be an incentive to bring them back into use, as well as the carrot of grants to renovate properties. A vacant property tax would also bring more unofficial landlords into the tax net.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 320 ✭✭ Dr. Em


    schmittel wrote: »
    One of the reasons I think it should be in RPZs only is Airbnb is a big driver of vacancy. And this drives up demand and cost in already high demand and cost areas.

    In rural villages most often the reason they are vacant is because there is no demand - I don't think you can/should penalise property owners for that.

    If you push the airbnb investors out of cities they might look to rural villages for their investments thereby creating demand in those areas and cleaning the places up, making them more attractive and so on and so forth.

    There is a rental crisis in rural areas too, and it is all the more sickening to pass by empty house after empty house and not a single one for rent. Mostly it is due to a lack of interest on the owner's part, but any scenic rural area has the exact same pressure from Airbnbs that towns and cities do.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,546 ✭✭✭✭ Ace2007


    I’m looking forward to SF being in power - over the years they’ve been against the USC tax - so I assume they will scrape this - more money in our pockets.

    They were against the LPT - so again assume they’ll scrape that - more money in home owners pockets

    They are against water tax - so I assume they will be removing water tax form commercial owners.

    They want to remove VAT on hotel rooms - so that should make holidays cheaper.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Dr. Em wrote: »
    There is a rental crisis in rural areas too, and it is all the more sickening to pass by empty house after empty house and not a single one for rent.

    Ok fair enough, but I think the carrot rather than the stick should be used here. A vacant property tax is a stick.

    Maybe just increase the time limit outside RPZs - empty for three years or more, apply the tax.

    Whatever the solution is, it is definitely workable.

    The idea that this has complexities beyond the abilities of the government and the Revenue is ridiculous.


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭ hometruths


    Ace2007 wrote: »
    I’m looking forward to SF being in power - over the years they’ve been against the USC tax - so I assume they will scrape this - more money in our pockets.

    They were against the LPT - so again assume they’ll scrape that - more money in home owners pockets

    They are against water tax - so I assume they will be removing water tax form commercial owners.

    They want to remove VAT on hotel rooms - so that should make holidays cheaper.

    Be careful what you wish for. I doubt it will be a bed of roses.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,546 ✭✭✭✭ Ace2007


    schmittel wrote: »
    Ok fair enough, but I think the carrot rather than the stick should be used here. A vacant property tax is a stick.

    Maybe just increase the time limit outside RPZs - empty for three years or more, apply the tax.

    Whatever the solution is, it is definitely workable.

    The idea that this has complexities beyond the abilities of the government and the Revenue is ridiculous.

    How does it work in Northern Ireland with vacant homes - given there are many street and houses deserted - and SF are in power sharing - I assume they have a policy in place already?


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