It is also a requirement of the Act that a site is entered on the Vacant Sites Register with details of ownership, title to the site and its market value.
For sites on the Vacant Sites Register, a levy shall be charged in 2019 for 2018 and for every year thereafter until the site is no longer vacant. The levy shall be payable in arrears each year beginning in 2019 by the owner of the vacant site that is entered on the register on 1 January of that year. The levy shall be payable on a demand being made by the authority and shall be calculated at 3% of the market value of the site. As set in the annual Budget 2018, there will be an increase in the rate of the vacant site levy from 3% to 7% of the market valuation of relevant sites with affect from January 2020, in respect of sites included on local authority vacant sites registers in 2019.
As set out in Section 8 of the Urban and Regeneration Housing Act 2015, each vacant site placed on the Register will include the following information:
Additional information in relation to date of entry and location will also be provided for ease of reference.
When notified by the authority of its intention to include a site on the Vacant Sites Register, a property owner has the right to object and can make a submission to the planning authority within 28 days. If, having considered the submission, the authority is still of the view that it should be entered on the register, it must notify the property owner of same and the owner may within 28 days appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanala (ABP). Entry on the register shall not take effect until the appeal is determined by ABP.
Before 1 June 2018, the authority must notify owners of vacant sites on the register on 1 January 2018 that the levy shall be charged for 2018 in January 2019. Property owners may make submissions in respect of the entry on the register to the authority within 28 days. If, having considered the submission the authority is still of the view that the property should remain on the register, it must notify the property owner of same and the owner may within 28 days of the date of the notice appeal to ABP. If ABP upholds the appeal the entry shall be cancelled on the register.
The authority must determine the market value of a vacant site as soon as after it is entered on the Vacant Sites Register and notify owner of same. The owner can appeal the valuation to the Valuation Tribunal within 28days of the notice. Subject to the right of appeal on a point of law, the decision of the Tribunal is final.
An owner of a vacant site who receives a demand for payment of the levy may appeal against same to ABP within 28 days of the date of the demand on grounds that the site is no longer vacant or that the calculation of the levy is incorrect. If ABP upholds the appeal, then either the entry shall be removed from the register and the demand cancelled or it will advise the authority of the correct amount of the levy and an amended demand shall issue.