Vacant Site Levy – what is it and how could it affect you


The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 (as amended by the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018) (“the Act”) introduced the vacant site levy into the Irish property landscape.

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Paul McCutcheon & David Mullins

The Act provides that “there shall be charged and levied for each year (beginning with 2018) in respect of each vacant site in relation to which a market value has been determined… and that stands entered on the register of levy to be known as the vacant site levy”. The vacant site levy is payable on demand in arrears by the owner of a vacant site listed on the vacant site register on the 1st January by the local planning authority. The first payment date for the vacant site levy was 1st January, 2019.

For a property to be deemed a vacant site, it must be an area of land exceeding 0.05 hectares that does not include any structure that is a person’s home and be either:

(a) In the case of a site consisting of residential land:

(i) Be situated in an area where there is a need for housing;

(ii) Be suitable for the provision of housing;

(iii) Be a site where all or the majority of the site is (a) lying idle or (b) being used for a purpose that does not consist solely or primarily for the provision of housing or the development of the site for the purposes of such provision provided that the most recent purchase of the site occurred after it became residential land and before, on or after the commencement of Section 63 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018; or

(b)  In the case of the site consisting of regeneration land:

(i) The site or the majority of the site is vacant or idle; and

(ii) The site being vacant or idle has adverse effects on existing amenities or reduces the amenities provided by existing public infrastructure and facilities in the area to which the site is situated or has adverse effects on the character of the area.

To be entered on to the vacant site register, the local planning authority must form the opinion that the property was a vacant site for the duration of the twelve proceeding months. 

The Law Society has updated its standard Requisitions on Title by adding an additional requisition dealing expressly with the Act. From 1st January 2021, a vendor must expressly confirm whether or not:

  • The property in sale was ever a vacant site as defined in the Act and if it has been entered into the vacant sites register;
  • A vacant site levy has ever become due and payable in respect of the property in sale;
  • The vendor is aware of any intention or proposal by the Local Authority to enter any part of the property in sale into the vacant sites register;
  • Any notice or demand under the Act has been served or received by the vendor in respect of any part of the development or any part of the property in sale; and
  • The vendor has served any appeal or notice under the Act on any third party in respect of any part of the property in sale.

 If you believe your property may be a vacant site under the Act or have issues with any Notices served under the Act in respect of a site, our team in Kane Tuohy LLP are available to help with any queries you may have. 

This Article is not intended as legal advice. For specific queries, please liaise with Paul McCutcheon or David Mullins whose details are set out below. 


Paul McCutcheon, Partner
M: 087-6322591

David Mullins, Solicitor
M: 087-7007480

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