Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant expanded to cities and remote rural areas
Published on: 18 November 2022
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke, and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, have today launched the expanded Croí Cónaithe Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant.
The expanded grant now includes eligible vacant properties in both cities and more remote rural areas (in addition to those in towns and villages, which have been eligible since July). The scheme’s expansion will help bring vacant and derelict properties back into residential use and ensure the existing housing stock is used to the fullest extent possible. It will also help limit emissions from residential construction and add vibrancy to Ireland’s cities and rural areas.
Under the Croí Cónaithe Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant €30,000 is available to homebuyers to refurbish a home which they will live in. Where a property is derelict, a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000 will be available, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to a maximum of €50,000. The grants can also be combined with the SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme that covers works of up to €26,750.
The grant, provided through the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund, is a key action under Housing for All, the government’s housing plan, and supports the aims of the Our Rural Future policy. Over 420 applications have been made since the grant was initially launched on 14 July 2022.
Announcing the scheme’s expansion, Minister O’Brien said:
“The expanded Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant provides a fantastic opportunity for even more people - from every part of the country - to refurbish vacant properties with the aim of converting them into their homes, enabling them to live in cities, towns, villages and rural areas.
"This scheme provides real practical help. It helps address vacancy through sustainable reuse of buildings, it helps revitalise our communities and, most importantly, it helps more people to own their own home.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke, added:
“The scheme has proven to be extremely popular since it was fist established in July with over 420 applications received by Local Authorities across the country. My department are ensuring our Local Authority teams are equipped and we now have 29 full time vacant homes officers across the country who are focused on bringing vacant stock back into productive use.”
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, concluded:
“The most efficient home is the one which is already built. The scheme’s expansion will not only ensure that existing housing stock is used to the fullest extent possible, it will also help limit emissions from residential construction and add vibrancy to Ireland’s cities and rural areas. Used in conjunction with the SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme this grant will help homebuyers to create a comfortable, sustainable home.”
The updated application form, eligibility criteria and associated information document are available here: Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant
They provide additional information to people who would like to apply for the grant. Further information will be available from the Vacant Homes Officer in each local authority.
The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant will now apply to all eligible vacant properties in cities, towns, villages and rural areas.
Properties considered for inclusion must be vacant for two years or more and built before 1993.
The following categories of works are eligible for grant assistance, subject to a reasonable cost assessment by the local authority and to the limits for specific works as set out in the table below. The works must be approved in advance, following inspection by the local authority of the subject property.
- demolitions / strip-out / site clearance (including removal of hazardous materials)
- substructure works (including works to foundations; rising walls; beds / slabs; damp-proofing; underpinning)
- superstructure works (including works to internal / external walls; chimneys; upper floors; stairs; roof structure; other structural timbers)
- completions (including works associated with external doors and windows; internal doors and associated frames, architraves and ironmongery; balustrades; skirtings; rooflights; fascias / soffits; rainwater goods)
- finishes (including finishes to external / internal walls; ceiling finishes; tiling / waterproof finishes to wet areas; roof finishes)
- services (including plumbing; heating; ventilation; power; lighting; telecommunications; smoke / CO2 detection)
- fittings (including kitchen units; sanitary /bathroom fittings)
- external works (necessary external / site works carried out within the curtilage of the site)
- extension within the ambit of exempt development under planning regulations, as part of a wider refurbishment
- professional services associated with works (fees / surveys)
Confirmation of vacancy can be validated and verified by the use of, for example, Utility Bills, which can help determine vacancy periods (for example: pattern of usage or disconnection) or such other proofs as are available to the satisfaction of the local authority.
The scheme is exclusively available to individuals or households for which the property will be their principal private residence. It is not available to undertakings and/or developers, and so on.
A Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Better Energy Home Scheme Grant may be available in combination with this grant. Works covered by SEAI Better Energy Homes Scheme will therefore not be covered.
Proof of both vacancy and ownership will be required to support the grant payment. In terms of ownership, it is a matter for the applicant to confirm ownership with the local authority.
A local authority may give approval in principle to a grant application where the applicant is able to provide evidence of active negotiations to purchase a property, that is, confirmation of engagement from the estate agent or owner of the property and where the owner provides such evidence as to vacancy as is required under the scheme on behalf of the applicant.
Applicants may only avail of the grant once in keeping with the requirement that it be their principal private residence.
Under Pathway Four of Housing for All (Pathway to Addressing Vacancy and Efficient Use of Existing Stock), the government has introduced a range of measures to address vacancy, including:
- €50 million for the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund with grants of up to €50,000 for homeowners to refurbish vacant and derelict properties
- over €400 million for the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund to revitalise town and city centres with a new emphasis on vacancy and dereliction. The re-use of vacant properties will be a key criterion in future funding rounds of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and Urban Regeneration and Development Funds
- introduction of a new Vacant Home Tax
- reform of the Fair Deal Scheme, removing disincentives to selling or renting unused homes
- the Historic Towns Initiative has now been adjusted to encourage private owners and occupiers to bring vacant floor area in historic buildings back into use and encourage projects that address dereliction and vacancy in particular