In response to increased demand for housing in Ireland, the Irish Government have approved a number of measures as part of its 'Housing for All Action Plan' which aim to help reduce the cost of developing housing. One such measure is a temporary, one year waiver of development contributions due to local authorities for permitted residential developments (the "Temporary Waiver Scheme") and a refund scheme in respect of Uisce Éireann standard connection charges for those developments (the "Uisce Éireann Refund").
Temporary Waiver Scheme
The Temporary Waiver Scheme applies to all permitted residential developments which commence on site between 25 April 2023 and 24 April 2024. A hard deadline for the completion of the residential development has been set at 31 December 2025. Failure to complete development by this date will lead to the developer being required to make a full repayment of the development contribution that has been waived.
The development contribution which would otherwise be paid by the developer is instead paid by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (the "Department") to the relevant local authority.
Types of residential development that qualify
Residential developments which qualify for the Temporary Waiver Scheme include multi-unit developments; self-build houses; one off rural houses; student accommodation and sheltered housing. However, it does not apply to domestic extensions; renovations or refurbishments of existing dwellings; changes of use; granny flats; nursing homes; hotels; or aparthotels. In the context of mixed use development, the waiver applies only to the residential element of the development. Extensions and refurbishments of vacant or derelict properties are also excluded.
How to apply
Applicants for the Temporary Waiver Scheme must submit an application form along with the commencement notice for the development to the relevant local authority. The local authority assesses the development and if it qualifies for the Temporary Waiver Scheme, they will issue a waiver approval letter and an undertaking form to be signed by the developer. The undertaking states that the developer will repay the Department in full if the terms of the Temporary Waiver Scheme are not complied with. The undertaking needs to be signed by the developer and submitted to the relevant local authority and, if successful, the local authority will issue a letter of approval confirming the amount of waiver that has been applied.
Uisce Éireann Refund
An additional support that developers may be entitled to is a refund from Uisce Éireann in respect of water and wastewater connection charges for permitted residential development. The process will involve the developer applying to Uisce Éireann for a refund by submitting a copy of the waiver approval letter obtained under the Temporary Waiver Scheme along with a completed Uisce Éireann refund application form. The application form is not available on the Uisce Éireann website yet but there is a note to say that this is being finalised and further details will be available on their website in due course.
The hope is that the Temporary Waiver Scheme and Uisce Éireann Refund will go some way in making residential developments more financially viable and will in turn help boost the delivery of new housing supply, however, how effective this will be remains to be seen.
Should you have any queries, or want to know more about the Temporary Waiver Scheme or the Uisce Éireann Refund, please feel free to reach out to Sally-Anne Stone, Shelley Kinsella or another member of the Matheson Commercial Real Estate team.