Upcoming Expansion of the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant | Fieldfisher
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Upcoming Expansion of the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant

Paddy Smyth



The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant forms part of the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund. The Grant launched in July 2022 with a view to benefitting those who wish to turn a formerly vacant house or building into their principal private residence or permanent home. However, as discussed below, amendments to the scheme will expand it beyond owner/occupiers to landlords of residential properties.

The Initiative

The scheme allows for a maximum grant of up to €30,000, with an additional top up grant of up to €20,000 available for derelict properties (i.e. structurally unsound and dangerous). The grant is available for the refurbishment of vacant properties for occupation as a principal primary residence, including conversion of property which has not been used as residential before, subject to appropriate planning permission being in place. To that end, a useful exemption for planning permission exists for change of use of certain vacant commercial premises to residential use, including; commercial premises vacant for two or more years, structure used for the same purpose for which originally intended and vacant public houses.

From the 1st May 2023, the scheme is due to expand. The Grant will apply to properties built before 2007 rather than the existing 1993 threshold. The most significant change will be the inclusion of landlords in the scheme, those refurbishing vacant properties with a view to renting the property out, and will no longer be limited to those occupying the vacant property as their principal primary residence.

An Overview of the Process
  1. Completed application form and supporting documents sent to the relevant local authority.
  2. Application reviewed by the local authority in line with eligibility criteria.
  3. Assessment of projected costs by technical staff.
  4. Approval/Rejection and level of Grant decided by local authority.
  5. Contractor and payment information sent.
  6. Work is checked for completion by technical staff.
  7. Grant is paid.
Eligibility Criteria

Property Eligibility

To be eligible for the grant the applicant must prove the property meets the following criteria;
  • Vacant for two years or more and,
  • Built before 1993. From the 1st May 2023 properties built before 2007 become eligible.

Location Eligibility

Due to the recent expansion of the Grant, it now applies to qualifying vacant properties in cities, towns, villages and rural parts of the country. The local authority may consider the following;
  • The overall levels of vacancy and dereliction within an area
  • Assessment of application in line with individual eligibility
  • Alignment with policies of the recent development plan
  • The role the Grant might play as part of wider town regeneration

Individual Eligibility

Applications will be considered in accordance with the Framework of Priorities:
  1. First time buyers or those qualifying under the 'Fresh Start' principle.
  2. Applicants with particular needs – specifically older or disabled persons.
  3. Applicants moving from their current home which they are selling or have sold and want to refurbish and live in a vacant property. This will include landlords seeking to rent out the vacant property after refurbishment after the 1st May 2023.

Qualification for the Grant

To qualify for the grant the applicant must;
  • Have proof of ownership or evidence of active negotiations to buy the property (confirmation of engagement from the estate agent or owner of property) when seeking approval for grant.
  • Live in the property as your principal private residence (subject to change after 1 May 2023).
  • Have proof that the property has been vacant for at least 2 years and that it was built before 1993. This can be verified by the use of utility bills or other proofs which satisfy the local authority in question.
  • Fall within one of the categories outlined in the Framework of Priorities, aforementioned.
  • When seeking the additional top-up grant, the property must be deemed derelict and the applicant must confirm this by submitting an independent report prepared by an appropriate qualified professional. The property can also be deemed derelict if it is on the local authority's Derelict Sites Register.


Having successfully claimed the grant, it is necessary to live in the qualifying property at least 5 years from the date of payment of the grant. If the property is sold or ceases to be the applicant's principal primary residence within ten years they must reimburse the local authority accordingly.


The amendments to the existing grant conditions will increase the scope of potential recipients of the grant and is likely to receive a positive response, particularly with regard to the inclusion of landlords in the scheme.

The expansion of the grant will ensure continued support of the sustainable re-use of vacant properties. It will also ensure that the existing housing stock is being used to the fullest extent possible. This will encourage urban re-generation and provide greater choice for renters.

Written by Paddy Smyth and Hannah Coman

Areas of Expertise

Real Estate