A 20% increase in funding for the Vacant Homes Officer (VHO) in South Dublin County Council will ensure greater action is taken on tackling vacant houses across South Dublin to transform them into new homes, a TD has said. Since 2018, the Department of Housing has provided funding to each local authority of €50,000 per annum to support the work of a Vacant Homes Office including the funding of posts of VHOs. Given the enhanced focus on tackling vacancy in the housing stock, the funding for VHOs will increase by 20% to €60,000.
Deputy Higgins said, “While all local authorities already have VHOs in place, they are mostly part-time roles and this 20% increase in funding will ensure the role is transitioned to a full-time position so that we can see real results in repurposing idle and empty houses across our local community. “Seeing buildings and homes lying vacant in our communities across Dublin goes against the grain when we know there are so many young people, families and individuals in need of affordable and quality housing. Supply is a massive challenge, which is why I believe that returning Dublin’s vacant properties to the market is so important.
“Housing For All has given an enhanced commitment to recognising the opportunity within vacant homes by increasing funding, and the Government recently announced the decision to allow vacant and derelict properties to be turned into homes without the requirement for planning permission. “This announcement of the increase in funding and expansion of the role of the VHO from Minister Peter Burke is proof of the Government’s commitment to repurposing vacant homes and idle buildings. “Tapping into our existing vacant home potential offers a huge opportunity to bolster the housing stock across Dublin and ultimately to turn empty houses into new homes,” concluded Deputy Higgins.
Speaking on the announcement, Minister Peter Burke said, “Our Local Authorities are best placed to identify vacant and derelict properties within their jurisdiction, and we have asked for these Local Authority-based positions to be in place by the end of Q2 of this year. The Vacant Homes Officers will be tasked with completing a new programme for Compulsory Purchase (CPO) of vacant housing for resale on the open market for residential purposes.
“The Government are also planning to bring in a new Vacant Property Tax, and we are currently awaiting data from Revenue which will highlight the number and location of vacant homes, as well as the reasons for this vacancy as of November 1st, 2021. This information will be assessed with other sources to inform the optimum design of a Vacant Property Tax”.