Vacant homes

What is a vacant home?

A vacant home is a home which does not have anyone living in it. For example, a vacant home could be a:

  • Rental property that is not being rented
  • Property that is for sale and is vacant
  • Property where the owner has died and the home is in probate
  • Property that is being refurbished

As well as contributing to homelessness, vacant properties can have a negative impact on communities and their surrounding areas. They can lead to:

  • Neighbourhood decline
  • Deterioration and dereliction
  • Vandalism
  • Social and environmental problems

As part of the Government’s Housing for All plan, they aim to reduce the number of vacant homes to increase housing supply in Ireland and help reduce homelessness.

This is outlined in detail in Pathway 4 of the Housing for All plan, Addressing Vacancy and Efficient Use of Existing Stock (pdf).

What do I do if I see a vacant home?

If you notice a vacant home in your area, you can report it to your local authority using the online form on

The local authority will investigate and, if appropriate, work to bring the vacant home back into use.

What can happen if a home is left vacant?

The Government tries to reduce the number of vacant properties by:

  • Taxing vacant properties
  • Buying derelict sites by compulsory purchase
  • Providing grants to help people renovate and refurbish vacant homes

You can find out more about how the Government aim to tackle vacant houses in the Housing for All plan.

Tax on vacant properties

A Vacant Homes Tax (VHT) was introduced in 2023. It applies to properties which can be lived in but have been stayed in for less than 30 days in the previous 12 months.

The rate of VHT on a property is three times the basic rate of Local Property Tax for the property.

The basic rate of Local Property Tax depends on the value of the property.

See our page on the Vacant Homes Tax for more information.

Compulsory purchase of vacant and derelict sites

Some statutory bodies can take land or property without the owner's consent. A compulsory purchase order (CPO) is the legal function they use to do this.

Compulsory purchase usually happens to allow a public infrastructure project to go ahead for the common good. However, as part of the Government’s Housing for All plan, they aim to use CPOs to purchase up to 2,500 vacant properties by 2026. These properties can then be resold to the public. This process will be carried out by local authorities.

See our page on the compulsory purchase of property for more information on what to do if you receive a compulsory purchase order.

Schemes to help people renovate and refurbish their homes

If you own a property that is vacant, you may be able to get a grant to help with the cost of doing it up.

These schemes can help you if you want to renovate or refurbish a home to live in or to rent.

See What schemes are available for fixing vacant homes? below for more information.

What schemes are available for fixing a vacant home?

There are a number of different grants and schemes available for repairing and refurbishing vacant properties.

Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant provides funding so you can refurbish vacant and derelict homes. It can also be used to renovate properties that have not been used as residential properties before.

You can get the grant if you are refurbishing the vacant or derelict property so you can live there, or so you can rent the property out.

Repair and Leasing Scheme

The purpose of the Repair and Leasing Scheme is to bring vacant properties in need of repair, back into use for social housing. The scheme is aimed at people who own vacant properties.

If your vacant property is suitable for social housing, your local authority or approved housing body (AHB) will pay to have it repaired. Then, you lease, or make the property available, to the local authority or AHB, who will use it for social housing.

Buy and Renew Scheme

The Buy and Renew Scheme helps local authorities buy and repair properties that need to be refurbished, so they can be used for social housing.

Local authorities are responsible for deciding what properties are suitable and may approach you if you own a vacant property.

If you agree, the local authority will buy your property from you and repair it, so it can be used for social housing.

Long Term Leasing Initiative

The Long Term Leasing Initiative lets you lease your vacant property to the local authority for up to 25 years. The local authority will use the property for social housing and they will be the landlord for any tenants.

You will get rent of up to 85% of the market rent per month, depending on the type of property. The vacant property must be in good condition for this initiative.

More information

You can read the Government’s Housing for All plan (pdf) for more information on how they plan to tackle vacant housing.

You can contact your local authority for information about schemes to refurbish vacant homes.

You can also contact the Vacant Homes Officer in your local authority if you have questions about these schemes.

Page edited: 2 October 2023