Vacant & Derelict Homes - A Buying Guide
In the 2022 census, 166,752 properties were recorded as vacant in Ireland. This represents a fall of 9% from 2016. In recent times, we have seen increased pressure put on the government from various lobby groups and social media commentary to work on freeing up vacant and derelict homes around the country. This is in response to the lack of supply of property on the rental and residential sales market.
Table 4.1 Housing Stock, 2011-2022
|State Totals||2011||2016||2022||Actual Change
2016 - 2022
2016 - 2022
|Unoccupied holiday homes||59,395||62,148||66,135||3,987||6|
Housing stock, 2011-2022 - Source: CSO
So with this amount of vacant housing stock in Ireland, is buying a vacant property a good idea?
Buying a vacant house - what should you look out for?
When purchasing any property, you need to carry out a lot of your own due diligence. The bulk of property for sale in Ireland is via private treaty sales although some property is for sale via auction. You can read about the crucial differences in our guide “ Private Treaty Sales Versus Auction”.
With a vacant or derelict property, the main concern you will likely have is renovation costs. With general private treaty sales, a property survey carried out by an engineer is common but it is not compulsory and some purchasers choose to bypass it especially if the property was quite new. However, with an older property and especially one that is vacant or derelict, a survey carried out by a structural engineer would be very much advisable in order to understand what costs you’re likely to incur when renovation begins.
Is there a grant for doing up old houses in Ireland?
Under the Croí Cónaithe fund which is under the overall Housing For All government scheme umbrella, there is a Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant. This grant is available for the purposes of doing up old houses in Ireland. In 2022, the grant was extended to include all relevant properties in cities, towns and rural Ireland. Previously it was limited to exclude city properties. The grant was further extended in May 2023 and revised to be more inclusive. A grant of up to €50,000 is available for renovation of vacant properties.
What grants are available for derelict houses?
A grant of a maximum of €70,000 (inclusive of VAT) is available for properties that are deemed derelict. This is under the Croí Cónaithe fund as part of the government’s Housing for All drive.
Do you need planning permission to renovate a derelict house?
It’s advisable to get professional advice if you have concerns about planning permission for plans you might have for a derelict property. Planning permission laws in Ireland are generally quite strict so the best advice is to approach your local authority. We also have a guide on the overall topic of planning permission in Ireland that might be helpful.