Vacant sites


Under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, local authorities are required to produce a vacant sites register, since 1 January 2017. This is a register of lands in the local authority’s area that are suitable for housing but have not been put forward for development.

Sites included on the register are subject to the vacant sites levy. The levy is intended to encourage the development of vacant sites and to reduce land hoarding. Guidance is available from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Circular PL 06/2018 (pdf).

You can also find information on Derelict sites.

What is a vacant site?

The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act defines a vacant site as either:

  • The site is residential land (more than 0.05 hectares), there is a need for housing in the area, the site is suitable for housing and the majority of the site has not been in use for an extended period of time
  • The site is regeneration land (other than residential land), the majority of the site has not been in use for an extended period of time, or the site is having a negative impact on existing amenities or on the character of the area.

Vacant Sites Register

A site can be added to the vacant sites register when the local authority decides that the property has been vacant for 12 months or more. The local authority must give written notice to the owner, of their intention to include a site on the register.

The register must contain the:

  • Location of each site including a map
  • Name and address of the owner
  • Current market value

The register is available at the offices of the local authority and on their website for public viewing.


If you receive notification from a local authority of its intention to include a site on the Vacant sites Register, you can appeal the decision within 28 days. If this appeal is unsuccessful, you can submit a further appeal to An Bord Pleanala.


The vacant sites levy is payable each year to the local authority until the site is removed from the register. The levy is paid in arrears each year, this means that the levy in respect of 2018 will be charged in January 2019. The levy is calculated as:

  • 3% of land value for 2018
  • 7% of the land value for 2019 onwards


If you have any queries or complaints regarding vacant sites, contact your local authority.

Page edited: 15 January 2019