Town Fund scheme launched

Eoin Ryan

A €50m Towns Fund scheme was recently launched to support bringing vacant and underused buildings in towns and villages across Ireland back into residential use.

This scheme was put in place to reduce the amount of unused and derelict buildings in towns and villages across the country and increase the number of homes available to local residents.

A grant of up to a maximum of €30,000 will be available for the refurbishment of vacant properties to be used as a place to live. This includes the conversion of properties that were not previously used as a form of accommodation.

The fund will apply for any towns and villages over 400 people and the properties must be within the town or village boundary as defined by the local authority or walkable to the town centre along public footpaths.

Grant amounts are subject to the types of work specified below having regard to a reasonable cost assessment by the local authority. The grant amount is VAT inclusive for the cost of the works.

A €20,000 maximum top-up grant may be available on top of the initial €30,000 for derelict properties, most likely those deemed structurally unsound or dangerous to live in. An independent report prepared by a qualified professional is required along with an application confirming the property is derelict for any top-up grants.

Properties must be vacant for two years or more, built before 1993 and a Confirmation of vacancy must be validated for a grant to be approved. This can be verified by Utility Bills, ESB metre readings, or such other proofs as are available to the satisfaction of the local authority as they will help determine how long it has been vacant for.

The SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme Grant may be available in combination with this grant. Proof of both vacancy and ownership will be required, and ownership must be confirmed with local authorities.

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