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Extension for grant scheme to refurbish vacant properties


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Extension for grant scheme to refurbish vacant properties Extension for grant scheme to refurbish vacant properties

The Government has committed to roll out the Croí Cónaithe scheme – which allows for funding of up to €50,000 to refurbish vacant dwellings – to Galway by the end of the month.

At the moment, the scheme only applies to towns and villages with a population of over 400, and the matter was raised in the Dáil several times in recent weeks.

A grant of up to €30,000 is currently available for the refurbishment of a qualifying vacant property for occupation as a principal private residence, including the conversion of a property which has not been previously used as a residence.

A maximum top-up of another €20,000 is available where the property is confirmed to be derelict (structurally unsound and dangerous).

Last week in the Dáil, Galway West TD Noel Grealish asked if the scheme could be extended to areas within a certain distance of the city which is “suffering a severe shortage of available accommodation” and if the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government intended to extend the scheme to areas within city boundaries, as this had previously been signalled as a possibility.

Minister Darragh O’Brien replied: “When the Fund was launched, I committed to ongoing review of the schemes under it and in particular I am pleased to see that the feedback on the Vacant Property Refurbishment Scheme to date has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Given that [the ‘Housing for All’ initiative] is intended to support re-use of existing buildings and the synergy with the Government’s Our Rural Future policy, I do see the sense in extending the eligibility for the scheme to vacant properties in both our cities and rural areas to ensure we are using our existing housing stock to the fullest extent possible. In that context, I am pleased to say that the Government has decided to extend the vacant property refurbishment scheme and I expect to have that extension to cities and rural properties in place by the end of October.

“It will continue to be only for those who intend to occupy the property as their principal private residence. Officials in my Department will work with the Vacant Homes Officers in each local authority in the coming weeks to update the details of the Grant, with a view to the expanded scheme being available by the end of  October.

“Vacant Homes Officers in each local authority will be available to provide advice and information on the schemes and the application process,” the Minister said.

To qualify for the existing scheme, properties must be vacant for two years and have been built before 1993 – proof of vacancy must be provided (for example through disconnections of services).

If the property is subsequently sold within five years, 100% of the grant must be repaid; or 75% repaid if it is sold five to ten years after the refurbishment. If sole more than ten years after the refurbishment, there is no Government ‘clawback’.

Successful applicants can also separately apply for SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme grants – works covered by that scheme cannot be included in the €30,000 or €20,000 top-up from Croí Cónaithe.

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