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26 Sept 2022

Laois first time buyers urged to tap into new €50 mill dereliction fund to get a home

Laois first time buyers urged to tap into new €50 mill dereliction fund to get a home

A derelict property in Portlaoise

Laois people are being urged to apply for funding to make homes out of vacant and derelict properties according to a Laois Minister who says it could be an important way for first time buyers to find a home.

Sean Fleming who is Minister of State in the Department of Finance welcomed the Government’s new €50 million Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund which he said is aimed at support people to live in towns and villages by providing a grant to refurbish vacant and derelict properties.

"This scheme can be of major benefit in a number of towns and villages throughout Laois where there are many such properties," he said.

The Fianna Fáil TD said the basic grant is up to €30,000 to refurbish a vacant property and an additional €20,000 is available if the property is derelict. He explained that this gives a maximum grant of €50,000 under this scheme and applicants can also get the SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme that covers works up to €26,750.

He urged people to apply.

"We all know vacant and derelict properties in towns and villages throughout the county. I would encourage people to apply for these grants as soon as possible. This grant scheme is available in towns and villages with a population of over 400 people.

"Very importantly, this scheme is available to First Time Buyers and to people who are moving from their current home which they are selling or have sold and want to live in a town or village. It is also available to people who previously had a home but may no longer have a legal interest in that home due to for example: divorce, separation, insolvency or bankruptcy.

"A priority for me in Government is our Housing For All Plan which specifically encourages refurbishment of vacant and derelict properties to boost housing supply locally.

"I believe there will be a strong appetite for this new scheme in County Laois which will support people acquiring a home and also at the same time breathe new life into our towns, villages and communities in Co Laois," said the TD.

The following are key points about the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund.

  • Properties considered for inclusion must be vacant for two years or more and built before 1993.
  • Confirmation of vacancy can be validated and verified by the use of, for example, Utility Bills which can help determine vacancy periods (e.g. pattern of usage or disconnection) or such other proofs as are available to the satisfaction of the local authority. 
  • The scheme is exclusively available to individuals or households for which the property will be their principal private residence.
  • It is not available to undertakings and/or developers, etc.
  • A Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Better Energy Home Scheme Grant may be available in combination with this grant. Works covered by SEAI Better Energy Homes Scheme will therefore not be covered.
  • Proof of both vacancy and ownership will be required to support the grant payment. 
  • In terms of ownership, it is a matter for the applicant to confirm ownership with the local authority. 
  • A local authority may give approval in principle to a grant application where the applicant is able to provide evidence of active negotiations to purchase a property i.e. confirmation of engagement from the estate agency or owner of the property and where the owner provides such evidence as to vacancy as is required under the scheme on behalf of the applicant.
     

The following categories of works will be eligible for grant assistance, subject to a reasonable cost assessment by the local authority and to any limits for specific works:

  • Substructure works, including works to foundations, rising walls, floor slabs, damp-proofing and underpinning
  • Structural works to superstructure, including walls, party walls, chimneys, suspended timber floors, structural timbers 
  • Works to internal walls, stairs, and landings, and internal wall completions including doors, windows, and applied finishes
  • External walls completions including doors, windows, sills, and applied finishes
  • Roof completions, including flashings, fascias, soffits, gutters, downpipes 
  • Building services including plumbing, heating, ventilation, electrical services, telecommunications, 
  • Painting and decoration required because of works carried out
  • Extension within the ambit of exempt development under planning regulations, as part of a wider refurbishment
  • Necessary external works and site development works carried out within the curtilage of the site
  • Professional services associated with works
     

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage says there are over 500 towns and villages in Ireland with a population of over 400 people.  It is intended that the Crói Cónaithe Fund will apply in all such towns, and also to some smaller villages, which may not be defined towns or villages for the purposes of the CSO Census mapping but with sufficient provision of services and amenities. 
 

While initially the Fund will not apply to towns within the city and suburb boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Laois and Waterford, as defined by the CSO Census mapping, the potential for inclusion of such towns within cities and suburbs will be further considered during the initial phase of the programme. 

Towns outside of the city and suburb boundary in the CSO Census are defined as a separate ‘town’ and will therefore be eligible, e.g. Balbriggan. 
 

Applicants may only avail of the grant once in keeping with the requirement that it be their principal private residence.

 

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