The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant provides funding so you can refurbish vacant and derelict homes. It can also be used to renovate properties that have not been used as residential properties before.
To get the grant you must live in the home as your principal private residence when the work is completed.
You can get up to €30,000 to renovate a vacant property and an additional top-up grant of up to €20,000, if the property is derelict.
The grant was initially only available for vacant homes in regional towns and villages. However, on 15 November 2022, the grant was extended to cover all areas. So, it is now available if you are refurbishing a vacant home in a city or rural area, as well as a regional town or village.
The grant is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage through the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund and you apply to your local authority. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has information about the grant including an FAQ. If you have questions about the grant, you can contact the Vacant Homes Officer in your local authority.
Do I qualify for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant?
To qualify for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your home must have been vacant for 2 years or more.
- Your home must have been built before 1993.
- You must own the home, or be in the process of buying it.
- You must live in the property as your principal private residence when the work is completed.
- You must have tax clearance from Revenue and your tax affairs must be in order.
- You must have paid your local property tax, if applicable.
- You must not have already got funding under the grant.
How much is the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant?
You can get up to €30,000 to renovate a vacant property and an additional top-up grant of up to €20,000 if the property is derelict. The grant includes VAT.
If the renovation costs more than the grant, you will have to pay for this. You can apply for Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grants to help improve the energy efficiency of your home.
The grant must be approved before any work begins.
What work is covered by the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant?
The grant covers:
- Demolition work and site clearances including the removal of hazardous materials
- Substructure works including work 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, as well as 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 needed because of the work
- Extensions in accordance with planning regulations and as part of a wider refurbishment
- Necessary external works and site development works carried out within the area of the site
- Professional services associated with works
The local authority will do a cost assessment and provide funding within any limits set out by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
How do I apply for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant?
Step 1 – Send completed form and supporting documents
- The property is vacant.
- That you own the property, or you are trying to buy it.
- That the property is derelict, if you are applying for the top-up grant.
You will also need a quote for the work.
Step 2 – Application reviewed and processed
- The local authority will review your application and documents.
- They will arrange for a qualified person to visit the property to check that it is possible to do the work and to assess the cost.
- The local authority will write to you to let you know if your application has been successful and how much you will get. If you haven’t bought the property yet, you will be approved in principle for the grant.
Step 3 – Send contractor and payment information
- Send information about the contractor to the local authority, for example, their tax reference number.
- Send your bank details to the local authority, so they know where to pay the grant.
- Send invoices for the completed work to the local authority.
- Get tax clearance from Revenue, if the approved grant is over €10,000.
Step 4 – Work is checked
The local authority will send someone to your home to check that the work has been completed as described and in-line with the costs.
Step 5 – Grant is paid
If the local authority is satisfied with the work when they inspect the home, they will pay the grant.
If you have questions about the grant, you can contact the Vacant Homes Officer in your local authority. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has more information about the process in the How to apply guide.
How are applications for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant prioritised?
Applications for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant are prioritised in this way:
- First-time buyers and ‘fresh start’ applicants.
- Applicants with particular needs who are selling or have sold their current home and want to refurbish a vacant home to live in. Particular needs includes people with disabilities and older people.
- Anyone else who is selling or has sold their home and wants to refurbish a vacant home to live in.
You are a first-time buyer if:
- You have not previously bought or built a property to live in.
- You do not own or have an interest in any property in Ireland or abroad.
You are a ‘fresh start’ applicant if you previously owned a home, but you no longer have a financial interest in it because:
- You are now divorced, separated, or your relationship has ended.
- You have gone through personal insolvency or bankruptcy.
Local authorities also consider the following when prioritising applications:
- Level of vacancy or dereliction in the area.
- Local development plan including any regeneration goals.
- Wider regeneration plans for the area.
What happens if my application is not successful?
If your application is not successful, you can appeal the decision with the local authority. You should write to them within 3 weeks of the decision, giving the reasons why you are appealing. Your appeal will be reviewed by someone in the local authority who was not involved in assessing your application. The local authority will contact you with the outcome of this review. This can take up to 6 weeks.
What happens if I want to sell my home or rent it out?
If you decide to sell your home or rent it out within 10 years of getting the grant, you will have to pay the local authority back. The amount you repay depends on how long you’ve lived there. If you live there for:
- Less than 5 years, you have to repay the full amount
- Over 5 years but less than 10, you have to repay 75% of the grant
- More than 10 years, you don’t have to pay back anything
You must pay back the grant in any situation where the home is no longer your primary residence within the first 10 years. However, if you want to rent out a room in your home while you live there, you do not have to repay the grant.