A vacant homes tax to be considered by Government while a forthcoming zoned land tax could be increased beyond the planned 3% rate, from a new Oireachtas committee report.

The report will also recommend an increase in the maximum funding available under the Repair and Leasing Scheme from the current limit of €60,000. The scheme is to help bring vacant properties back into use for social housing purposes.

There are currently 137,000 vacant homes at present. The debate around vacancy comes at a time when the State is struggling to meet the twin pressures of the domestic housing crisis and the efforts to house Ukrainian refugees. Between 150 to 200 refugees continue to arrive every day and are struggling to find accommodation.

The Government should consider introducing such a measure with “reasonable exemptions”. The Government’s Housing for All plan commits to the collection of data on vacancy “with a view to introducing a vacant property tax”. In the coming weeks the Revenue Commissioners will give new figures on vacancy to the Government ahead of a decision on such a tax as part of Budget 2023.

The Coalition has also committed to a new zoned land tax, designed to encourage the construction of housing. The tax, which will replace the existing vacant site levy, will target any unused land zoned and serviced for housing, regardless of its size. The new tax will be based on the market value of the land and the rate will be set at 3%.