Client Alert – Vacant Site Register/Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015

Client Alert – Vacant Site Register/Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015

Since 1 January 2017 local authorities have been tasked with the establishment and maintenance of a register of vacant sites zoned for residential or regeneration purposes which measure in excess of 0.05 hectares. As and from 1 January 2018 a vacant site levy shall apply to sites which have been registered by local authorities on the vacant site register.

  1. What is a Vacant Site?

    Residential Land:-

    • Site situate in an area in which there is a need for housing.
    • Site suitable for the provision of housing.
    • Site or majority of site is vacant or idle.

    Regeneration Land:-

    • Site or majority of site is vacant or idle.
    • The site being vacant has an adverse effect on existing amenities or reduces the amenity provided by existing public infrastructure and facilities in the vicinity.
  2. Registering a Vacant Site
    • Prior to entering a site on the register the planning authority will give written notice to the owner setting out its reasons for the proposed entry.
    • The owner may make submissions within 28 days of the date of such notice.
    • Planning authority must consider submissions made and if it is of the opinion that the site was a vacant site for the duration of 12 months and continues to be a vacant site it should be entered on the register.
    • Owner of a site entered on the register may appeal against such entry to An Bord Pleanala within 28 days.
  3. Vacant Site Levy
    • This applies from 2018 to owners of vacant sites entered on the register on 1 January 2018.
    • Payable in arrears beginning in 2019.
    • This does not apply to sites subject to derelict sites levy.
    • Levy is 3% of market value of site with reduced levies in certain circumstances.
  4. Consequences
    • Any unpaid vacant site levy becomes a charge on the property and will remain a charge until such times as it is paid in full.
    • Before completion of a sale of a site subject to the levy an owner is required to pay to the relevant planning authority any vacant site levy due and owing.
    • Owner required to provide a certificate of discharge for each year in respect of which the site was a vacant site.
    • The obligations to discharge the levy and provide the Certificate of Discharge apply to the Vendor and also the Vendor’s Solicitor acting in the disposal.
  5. Progress by Dublin City Council as of January 2017
    • 971 sites visited.
    • 385 considered eligible to be placed on the register.
    • Assembly of title and ownership titles being undertaken.
    • Statutory process notifying property owners of intention to include property on vacant sites register to commence in first quarter 2017.

For further information on this issue or any other property matters contact Roisin Bennett at

Roisin Bennett
Author: Roisin Bennett