News & Media

Where is Ireland’s vacant home tax?

20 June 2021

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Seanad Leader and spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has called on the housing Minister to respond to the clear and urgent need for a vacant home tax.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Reports in this morning’s Business Post highlight once again the urgent need to introduce a vacant home tax as one tool in the armoury to tackle the housing crisis. The Minister is bottling it by waiting for local property tax valuations. This delaying tactic is potentially keeping many homes off the market when we know we have a crisis in supply.

“The failure to implement a vacant homes tax is such a wasted opportunity. If you walk around most cities in the country, there are many empty apartment complexes with plastic still on the mattresses. It’s a shocking sight given the depth of our housing crisis that there is supply out there, but it is totally unaffordable and unattainable for those who need it most. The thousands of vacant homes across the country can be accessed quickly to help alleviate the housing crisis.

"CSO figures in 2016 said there were up to 200,000 vacant homes, but we need to get a clear picture of the actual figure of potential supply for people. We know from previous analysis from the Business Post that large build to rent complexes such as Clancey Quay and Capital Dock are not fully occupied. This is a scandal and could be stopped if there was political will to change things.

“Why can’t this Minister have ambition? Why can’t he read what it’s like in Amsterdam and aspire to a model like this for people in Ireland? Why does he continue to focus on delay tactics to protect private investors and landlords? Why doesn’t he feel the need to grasp the vacant home tax nettle once and for all?

“It is an absolute scandal that while thousands of people have no proper home, many properties continue to lie vacant. Home ownership should be a legitimate aspiration for people. It should not be seen as an investment opportunity for huge funds that only care about their bottom line. Government has wasted yet another opportunity to change people’s lives for the better.”