Cavan sees just four vacant property refurbishment grants drawn down

Just four vacant property refurbishment grants have been paid out by Cavan County Council to the end of 2023. That's despite 204 being received by the local authority since the scheme opened in July 2022. It reflects the requirement for homeowners to cover the cost of the works before being able to draw down the grant as per the conditions of the scheme. While some applications are still under consideration in Cavan, 135 have been approved, with three rejected.

A similar situation exists in neighbouring County Monaghan, where 56 out of 124 applications have been approved, none have yet been paid out, while nine were rejected.

Nationwide just 127 vacant property refurbishment grants have been drawn down by homeowners since the scheme was launched in July 2022. There were 6,300 applications received to the end of 2023.

There has, however, been an increase in the number of draw downs in the last few months. For example, by last November, only 21 grants had been paid out countrywide.

The scheme allows access to up to €50,000 to renovate a vacant property, and up to €70,000 to restore a derelict house. However, the work must first be completed before the grant can be received.

The grant process involves the local authority receiving, reviewing and validating applications before arranging for a qualified person to visit the property to check that it is possible to do the work and to assess the proposed cost.

Following confirmation of a successful application and the works being completed, the local authority will conduct a final property visit to review that the work has been completed in-line with grant application. Once the local authority is satisfied, it will then pay the grant.

The Department of Housing says refurbishment works are being completed within 12 months on average, based on current data.

“In keeping with the 12-month timeframe, grants are now starting to be paid out by local authorities,” a spokesperson explained.

“Due to the success of the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant to date, and the number of applications received, the Cabinet agreed to double the number of homes assisted under the scheme – raising the target to 4,000 homes to be delivered by 2025.”