Hardware Association Ireland launches Empty Homes Proposal

In recent months Hardware Association Ireland (HAI) has consulted with members and other stakeholders on empty/vacant homes/properties in their areas, the impact of this activity, and the potential solutions
and opportunities.

From these consultations HAI has published a series of proposals designed to realise the opportunity of Empty Homes. Ireland today needs a fairer deal for first time buyers, more homes, more home ownership, greater population density in our towns and cities, less vacancy and dereliction and decisive reductions to our carbon emissions.

We need to reframe our thinking and optimise supply from existing properties. The value proposition for this is clear-sighted, it is a smart investment.

The proposals are listed below, and are explained in further detail in the full report, which can be viewed here: https://hardwareassociation.ie/hardware-association-ireland-launches-empty-homes-proposal/

  1. Include rejuvenation of empty homes in our housing targets.
  2. A Help to Buy and Renovate Scheme.
  3. Link both the Help to Buy and Renovate grant and SEAI grants to the costs of building materials.
  4. Those rejuvenating older houses and those rejuvenating ‘above the shop’ accommodation to be given a choice of incentives.
  5. Waive Capital Gains Tax on empty homes for a two-year period.
  6. Waive Stamp Duty on empty homes for a two-year period.
  7. A one-stop shop “regulatory approvals process” within the local authority was recommended in the Urban Renewal Report of the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage. HAI endorses this recommendation.
  8. Ensure that planning departments in local authorities are properly resourced. Their focus needs to be on housing delivery – both new homes and empty homes.
  9. Task Revenue Commissioners with applying a 6% annual Vacant Property Tax on vacant/derelict properties.
  10. Prioritise and accelerate SEAI grants for those who have purchased an empty home.
  11. Extend the Accelerated Capital Allowance Scheme for Energy Efficient Equipment (EEE) and provide a tax deduction equal to 100% of the costs incurred on qualifying EEE in the year the expenditure has occurred.
  12. Fast-track applications to NSAI of bio-based construction materials.
  13. Reduce VAT to 9% on all carbon-saving products such as heat pumps, insulation, stoves (all products as per Energy Saving Credits – Better Energy Homes) for a two-year period.
  14. Reduce VAT to 9% on construction services such as BER assessments, for energy efficiency for a two-year period.
  15. Lessen the Capital Gains Tax on the sale of rental properties from 33% to 20%.
  16. Lower the Local Property Tax for those who carry out an energy retrofit on their property that results in an improvement in the BER rating.
  17. Loosen 80% rule on rental of Fair Deal homes.

These proposals have been sent to the relevant Government Departments. In the coming weeks and months, we will be engaging strongly with government in securing support for our proposals.

HAI believes that these recommendations are a coherent and compelling response to the challenges and opportunities that we face. They are both appropriate and pro-social with a particular relevance for much-needed regeneration throughout the country.

Any queries regarding these proposals can be directed to Martin Markey at martin@hardwareassociation.ie.