What is it?
The Croí Connaithe (Towns) Fund, or vacant buildings refurbishment grant will provide funding of up to €30,000 to help first-time buyers convert vacant commercial units into new residential homes. The scheme will see old buildings revived and repurposed in towns and villages across Ireland. In cases where the refurbishment costs are expected to exceed the €30,000 quota, applicants can claim a maximum top-up grant of €20,000 bringing the total funding available to €50,000.
Under the scheme requirements, a property is deemed to be vacant or derelict if it has been unoccupied for two or more years. The building in question must also have been built before 1993 to qualify. Proof of vacancy and ownership are also required to receive grant approval.
How do I apply for the vacant buildings grant?
You can find full information and the application form at gov.ie. Applicants must specify whether they are applying for the vacant buildings refurbishment grant alone or also seeking the 20,000 top up grant.
Benefits to the community
Susan Hickey and Denise Lawlor of Knight Frank discuss the community benefits the vacant housing refurbishment grant will bring.
Susan Hickey, Building Surveyor of Property Asset Management said:
“We are delighted to see this new initiative being rolled out to assist both first time buyers and also to encourage the re-use of vacant properties as residential units in our towns & cities. These often-overlooked buildings lend themselves to re-use as residential properties, whilst often providing considerably more floor area, light, views and proximity to amenities than their new-build counterparts. They also have the advantage of offering an entire lifestyle overhaul by means of less reliance on private cars and can help entire communities by supporting local businesses and contribute to urban regeneration.“
Denise Lawlor, Head of Building Consultancy added:
“As Building Surveyors, our profession has always been at the forefront of the Circular Economic Model of reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling, by assessing existing building fabric, systems & components and striving to improve these for the benefit of the occupiers in a cost-effective manner. Many of these properties can be adapted for re-use whilst still complying with Building Regulations. Guidance is provided within the Technical Guidance Documents, to assist in the refurbishment of existing buildings, including modifications and alternative approaches, which can, and should be considered. This ‘outside the box’ thinking could both help alleviate the current issues with housing shortages, whilst simultaneously regenerating the cores of our towns & cities to the benefit of all.”