Ireland: Real Estate Update: The Urban Regeneration And Housing Act 2015 - "Use It Or Lose It!"

New legislation has recently been enacted and was signed into law by the President of Ireland on 28 July 2015 which is focused on addressing the housing supply related issue in Ireland. The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 (the "Act") aims to incentivise urban regeneration with a view to facilitating increased activity in the housing construction sector. The Act heralds another step of the Government's 2020 Construction Initiative to renew and develop the construction sector and will have a significant impact on both developers and land owners.  

There are two main strands to the legislation:

  1. The introduction of the vacant site levy;
  2. Revisions to planning development contribution requirements and to social housing provision. 

1. Vacant Site Levy

The Act allows local authorities to impose a vacant site levy on land which has been zoned as suitable for housing and which has been left idle by as owners.

The levy will apply to land which has been sold primarily for residential purposes and land which has been designated with the objective of development and regeneration. The intention of the provisions introduced is to prevent land-hoarding.

If landowners fail to bring forward proposals for the use of the land and cannot provide good reasons for refusing to bring the land into productive use, the levy will be imposed.

What Constitutes a "Vacant Site"?

A site is situated in an area in which there is a need for housing:

  • A site is suitable for the provision of housing;
  • A site or the majority of the site is vacant or idle;
  • For regeneration land, where the site, being vacant or idle, has adverse effects on existing amenities or reduces the amenity provided by existing public infrastructure and facilities in the area where the site is located. 

A "site" is defined as any area of land exceeding 0.05 hectares but the definition does not include a structure that is a person's home, a dwelling in which a person ordinarily resides.

The vacant site levy will generally be an annual charge of 3% of the market value of each site.

Vacant Sites Register

By 1 January 2017, all planning authorities are required to have established a vacant sites register.  Each vacant site will be registered on a the relevant local authority's vacant sites register.  This list will ensure that all vacant sites are known and will allow for the provision of a baseline for local authorities to take action in terms of levies.

A levy will be charged and levied beginning in 2018 in respect of each vacant site in which a market value has been determined and which stands entered on the register.

The levy shall be payable in arrears for each year beginning in 2019 by the land owner of the vacant site.   

Where a vacant site is subject to a mortgage and the value of the security on the site is greater than the market value of this site, a zero rate of levy shall apply. 

Failure to Pay

If the levy is not paid within 2 months after the day on which it becomes payable, it shall be recoverable as a simple contract debt in court.

Where the levy is due and owing for over a year, failure to pay the levy will result in a charge on the property until payment is made.

Appeal Process

An appeal to An Bord Pleanála may be made on a number of grounds for example where:

(i)  the site was not a vacant site in the year concerned;

(ii) the amount of the levy has been incorrectly calculated. 

Exemptions from the levy where:

(i)  the site is situated on contaminated lands;

(ii) no market exists for the site. 

Appeals are permitted, but exemptions are not allowable purely because of a lack of financial resources, absence of planning or the lack of commercial viability of the site.

Transfer of Property

Where a vacant site changes ownership, the levy will be charged at a zero rate for both that year and the preceding year.  This does not apply where the transfer is to a connected person/associated company. 

On the transfer of sale of the vacant site, there will be a requirement for the vendor to furnish a certificate of discharge evidencing payment of the levy for each year that the property was registered as a vacant site.  Evidence must also be produced to show that the property was registered as a vacant site.

2. Revisions to Planning Development Contributions and Social Housing Provision

Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 ("Part V")

The Act also makes a number of amendments to existing planning and housing legislation including a number of revisions to Part V. This will be welcomed by developers.  These revisions will have the aim of enhancing the economic viability of housing developments, increasing the delivery of social housing and encouraging integrated mixed tenure developments. 

Development Contributions in Lieu of Social Housing

Previously, developers were required to reserve up to 20% of land sold for residential use for social and affordable housing.  Local authorities could buy this land at a discount and the relevant local authority could then choose to accept a cash payment from developers if they did not want these units. 

Under the Act, this percentage requirement is halved to 10% of social housing in developments in excess of 9 units and the option for developers to make cash payments in lieu of social housing is to be discontinued.

The Act also enables developers to retain ownership of housing through "long term leasing or rental accommodation availability agreements" instead of selling the units to the local councils. 

Developers now have the option of transferring completed units on land which is not the subject of a planning application, rather than the current option to enter into an agreement to build units and transfer them on completion. 

This will allow social housing units to be delivered in another area if the development in question does not meet the local authority's social housing needs. 

Retrospective Application

These new Part V revisions may be applied retrospectively and will enable local authorities to implement reductions in development charges relating to existing but un-commenced planning permissions.  This is only in situations where the parties consent and where such agreements are entered into prior to the lodgement of the commencement notice. 

This will serve to boost housing development and ease the existing housing shortage.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.