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Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant – What You Need To Know

The vacant property refurbishment grant is gaining traction among buyers seeking alternatives in today’s challenging housing market. With soaring house prices and limited supply, this grant serves as an incentive for individuals to purchase vacant or derelict properties, refurbish them, and transform them into their dream homes or lucrative rentals.

As an estate agent, I’ve witnessed first-hand the benefits and challenges that buyers encounter with this grant. It has notably surged the demand for derelict or vacant properties, drawing buyers in with its promising financial incentives. Let’s delve into some fundamental questions about the vacant property grant.

What is the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant?

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is a financial aid initiative designed to motivate homeowners to renovate neglected properties, making them habitable or suitable for rental purposes.

How to qualify for the vacant property refurbishment grant?

Eligibility requires proof of ownership or active purchase negotiations, intentions to make the property a primary residence or available for rent, tax compliance, and property vacancy for a minimum of two years. Below is the criteria to qualify for the vacant property grant:

  • The property must have been vacant for 2 years or more
  • The property must have been built before 2008
  • You must own the property, or be able to show you are in the process of buying it
  • You must live in the property as your principal private residence when the work is completed, or make it available for rent.
  • If you are going to rent the property when the work is done, you must register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board
  • You must have tax clearance from Revenue and your tax affairs must be in order if the approved grant is over €10,000
  • You must have paid your Local Property Tax, if applicable
  • You must not be a registered company or developer
  • The grant must be approved before any work begins

How do you prove a property is vacant?

Proving property vacancy involves showcasing evidence of non-occupancy for the specified duration. (2 years)

How do you prove a property is derelict?

Proving dereliction involves presenting the property’s deteriorated state through detailed documentation or inspection reports.

How much is the grant and what does it cover?

Eligible homeowners can access up to €50,000 for refurbishing vacant properties and an additional €20,000 for derelict properties. The grant covers a wide range of renovation works, excluding complete property demolitions and rebuilds.

How to apply for the vacant property refurbishment grant?

The application process involves submitting a comprehensive package to the local authority, including proof of vacancy, ownership details, renovation quotes, necessary permissions, and dereliction proof for the top-up grant.

  • Application form
  • Proof that the property is vacant, utility bills can show this
  • Proof the property was built up to and including 2007
  • Proof  of ownership of the property or evidence of negotiations if seeking grant approval in principle
  • Proof of planning permission, if it is needed
  • Evidence confirming the property is structurally unsound and dangerous if applying for the top-up derelict property grant
  • Signed declaration of. intention (as principal residence or for rent)
  • A quotation(s) in respect of the works proposed

Once the application is submitted, a qualified person will review the property and assess the cost of works. If approved, you’ll receive confirmation and have 13 months to complete the renovations. Upon completion, a qualified person will inspect the work, and a charge will be placed on the property for ten years as security for the grant. The application form is available here

When do you receive the grant?

Receiving the grant occurs post-inspection and document signing. However, repayment obligations arise if circumstances change within ten years post-grant receipt, impacting property use or rental availability.

Can The Grant Be Used to Refurbish Vacant Properties for the Rental Market?

Yes, this is now allowed. The grant was originally designed for people who were refurbishing a vacant property to live in, however, on 1 May 2023, it was extended to people who want to refurbish a vacant property to rent it out

Can you apply for two grants under the scheme?

You can actually apply for two grants under this scheme to refurbish 2 different properties.
1. Where the property will become the principal private residence
2. One additional application in respect of a property that is being made available to rent under this scheme

However terms and conditions apply: If you get the grant to refurbish a property to rent and you decide to sell the property, or it is no longer available to rent within 10 years of getting the grant, you will have to pay the local authority back. If you get the grant to refurbish a property to live in and then you decide to sell or rent it out within 10 years of getting the grant, you will have to pay the local authority back.

Can one Also Apply for the SEAI Home Energy Upgrades Scheme?

Yes.  If the property is eligible for support through the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant Scheme (Croi Conaithe Fund) it may also be eligible for home energy upgrade grant supports through SEAI.

However, please note, any Home Energy Upgrades can only be funded by one of the schemes.

For example, if the supply and fit of external wall insulation and associated works are supported by an SEAI home energy grant, no part of this work is eligible for support under the Vacant Property Refurbishment grant scheme.

If the energy works are funded through the Vacant Property Refurbishment grant then they are not eligible for support through SEAI home energy upgrade grant schemes.

If you are applying to the Vacant Property Refurbishment grant scheme and you also apply for an SEAI home energy upgrade grant, you must notify the local authority Grant Officer.

Vacant property refurbishment grant – benefits and challenges

While the vacant property grant offers numerous advantages, buyers face hurdles such as difficulties securing mortgages for older properties, high construction costs, and uncertainties associated with renovating older properties. Despite these challenges, I’ve witnessed successful grants in action, particularly among parents buying for their children or investors eyeing rental opportunities.

The vacant property grant remains a compelling opportunity for buyers to breathe life into neglected properties, but it’s crucial to navigate its complexities and challenges effectively.

Find out more about the vacant property refurbishment grant

More useful information can be found here

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In our recent property clinic Majella spoke to Christopher O Sullivan TD about the vacant property grant. Click here to Listen back and learn everything you need to know about the vacant property grant

Vacant property grant

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