A Derelict Site
A derelict site is any land which detracts or is likely to detract to a material degree from the amenity, character or appearance of land in the neighbourhood because of
- the existence on land of structures which are ruined or derelict or dangerous;
- the neglected, unsightly or objectionable condition of land or of any structures on the land;
- the presence, deposit or collection on the land of any litter, debris or waste except where this is lawfully done by reason of a statutory or common law right.
The Register of Derelict Sites must contain
- particulars of any land in their authority’s opinion, is a derelict site;
- the name and address of each owner and occupier, where these can be ascertained by reasonable enquiry;
- particulars of any action taken by the local authority under this Act or under any other enactment in relation to the site,
- in the case of land owned or occupied by a local authority, particulars of the use, if any, which is being made of the land and particulars of any purpose for which the land is intended to be used,
- particulars of the market value of urban land as determined by the local authority, or by the Tribunal on appeal under the Act; and
- such other particulars as may be prescribed.
Local authorities may serve notices of a proposal to enter a site on the register. It must be served on the owner or occupier, where they can ascertain their identity by reasonable enquiry. The owner or occupier may make representations, which the local authority must take into account, in deciding whether or not to enter the site on the register.
When its continued registration is no longer appropriate, the land may be removed from the register. The local authority shall remove an entry from the register (and record in the register the date on which this is done) in relation to a derelict site where—
- a statutory notice above has been complied with, or
- steps have been taken to give effect to the terms of a notice, or
- the land has otherwise ceased to be a derelict site.
The register is kept at the offices of the local authority and is available for inspection at the offices of the local authority during office hours. A copy of the register or an entry in the register shall be sent to the Minister on request. Notice of an entry in the register shall be served by the local authority on the owner and occupier of a site in respect of which an entry has been made in the register where such persons can be ascertained by reasonable enquiry.
Duty to Prevent Dereliction
There is a general duty on the owner or occupier of land, including statutory and State bodies, to take reasonable steps to ensure that the land does not become, or continue to be a derelict site. There is a duty on local authorities to take reasonable steps to ensure that land in their functional area does not become, or continue to be, a derelict site.
Local authorities have duties to serve notices on the owners and occupiers of derelict sites where they are of the opinion that it is necessary to do so, in order to prevent the land from becoming, or continuing to be, a derelict site. A notice shall
- specify the measures which the local authority or the Minister, as the case may be, consider to be necessary in order to prevent the land from becoming or continuing to be a derelict site;
- direct the person on whom the notice is being served to take such measures as may be specified in the notice, and
- specify a period (being not less than one month) within which such measures are to be taken.
The notice shall not have effect until the expiration of fourteen days from the date of service of the notice, or if any representations are made the date on which the local authority notify the person making such representations that they have considered the said representations.
Any person who is the owner or occupier of land in respect of which a notice has been served under this section may, within fourteen days from the date of the service of the notice, make such representations in writing as he thinks fit to the local authority concerning the terms of the notice and the said authority, having considered such representations, may amend or revoke the notice.
Any person who is the owner or occupier of land in respect of which a notice has been served shall, within the period specified in the notice, comply with the requirements of the notice, or, as the case may be, the notice as amended. Any person served with a notice (or with the notice as amended) who is the owner of the land in respect of which a notice has been served, and his employee or agents, may enter the land and undertake the measures required to be done under the notice.
Where a person on whom a notice under this section has been served does not, within the period specified in the notice, comply with the requirements of the notice, the local authority may take such steps (including entry on land by authorised persons) as they consider reasonable and necessary to give effect to the terms of the notice. It may recover any expense thereby incurred from the person on whom the notice or the notice as amended, as the case may be, was served and who is the owner or occupier as a simple contract debt.
The carrying out of any works which are specified in a notice are exempted development for the purposes of the Planning and Development Acts.
Minister / Department
The Department of the Environment and Local Government may
- direct a local authority to serve a notice in relation to a derelict site which is included in the register, or
- direct a local authority to take such steps as he considers reasonable and necessary to give effect to the terms of a notice served, or
- direct a local authority to take such steps as may be specified by him so as to prevent any land owned or occupied by them from becoming or continuing to be a derelict site,
and it shall be the duty of the local authority to comply with the direction within such period as may be specified by the Minister.
The Minister may, in relation to any derelict site which is included in the register and in which a statutory body has an interest, direct that body to take such steps as are open to it to dispose of that interest. Before giving a direction, the Minister shall consult with the appropriate Minister and give to the body concerned notice of his proposal to give such a direction and shall consider any objections that body may make and he may modify his proposal in such manner and to such extent as he thinks proper and may give a direction accordingly.
The Minister shall not give a direction under this section unless he is satisfied after consultation with the appropriate Minister that the land to which the direction, if given, will relate is not being used by, or is not, or is unlikely to be, required by, the statutory body for the performance of its functions. It shall be the duty of a statutory body to whom a direction has been given under this section to comply with the direction within the time specified in the direction
Acquisition of Site
A local authority may acquire by agreement or compulsorily any derelict site situated within their functional area. There is a procedure for publication and service of notices, objections and application for confirmation of the acquisition. There is provision for vesting of the site in the authority, on completion of the procedure. When the local authority makes a vesting order in relation to any derelict site, they shall send the order to the registering authority which shall cause the local authority to be registered as an owner of the land in accordance with the order.
Where, immediately before a vesting order is made, any person has any estate or interest in or right in respect of the derelict site acquired by the order, the person may apply to the local authority not later than twelve months after the making of the order for compensation in respect of the estate, interest or right. The local authority shall pay to the person by way of compensation an amount equal to the value (if any) of the estate, interest or right.
The compensation to be paid by a local authority under this section in respect of any estate or interest in or right in respect of the derelict site shall, in default of agreement, be determined by statutory arbitration. Where, after the making of a vesting, any sum (including any sum for costs) remains due to the local authority by any person by way of derelict sites levy or on foot of an order of any court for payment of an amount due to the local authority, then
- if the above sum is less than the amount of the compensation payable to the person under this section, the amount of the compensation shall be reduced by the amount of the sum, and
- if the sum aforesaid is not less than the amount of the compensation aforesaid, the compensation shall not be payable.
A derelict sites levy is charged on the basis of the market value of the site as entered in the register. It is to be paid by the owner of the land to the local authority. As an alternative, a bond may be provided by the local parties satisfying the person who proposes to undertake a scheme of development. The bond provides that the event of the development scheme not be undertaken within a certain period, the levy will be paid together with the interest. The local authority may allow suspension of the derelict sites levy on the basis of that it would cause undue hardship.
The levy is payable in respect of all urban land in relation to which a market value has been determined and stands entered on the register on the first day of January. The derelict sites levy shall be paid by the owner of urban land to the local authority in whose functional area the said land is situated. The amount of the derelict sites leis prescribedbed in accordance with a statutory procedure.
The derelict sites levy is payable on a demand being made by the local authority in that behalf; and in default of being paid within two months after becoming payable, shall be recoverable as a simple contract debt. A local authority may provide for the payment of the derelict sites levy by instalments. Where the land ceases to be derelict at any time during the year, the amount of the derelict sites levy is reduced proportionately.
Where an amount of derelict sites levy is due and unpaid for a period beginning two months after the date on which it is demanded, the person liable to pay the amount due shall pay to the local authority concerned simple interest, without deduction of income tax, on the amount, calculated at a prescribed rate.
Where the market value of land is altered on appeal, the appropriate entry in the register is amended, the amount of the derelict sites levy in respect of that land shall be determined by reference to the market value as so altered; and in case another amount in respect of the derelict sites levy has already been paid, the local authority shall, if the market value is decreased, repay any amount paid in excess of the sum which would have been payable if the market value had originally stood as altered on appeal, and if the market value is increased, the local authority may demand the levy on the amount of the increase.
Where a derelict sites levy for a year, or any portion of it, is due and owing, the amount of the levy and the interest due and payable thereon shall, on the date on which it becomes so due and payable, become and shall remain until payment thereof, a charge on the relevant land. This does not apply in any case where a vesting order is made in relation to a derelict site.
Where a local authority is satisfied that the owner of the land requires it for the purpose of carrying out a scheme of development of property which includes the land, and for which planning permission has been granted or in relation to which an application for such permission or an appeal has been made and has not been refused, the owner may, with the consent of the local authority, enter into a bond in lieu of paying the derelict sites levy for a period of one or more but not exceeding five local financial years.
Where in the opinion of a local authority, payment of the derelict sites levy or of interest payable at a particular time by a particular person would cause undue hardship to the person, it may suspend action or further action to secure payment of the whole or part of the amount of the levy due for such period as may be specified in the notice.
Offences for contraventions under the Act, including failure to comply with notices are subject on conviction on summary prosecution to a fine of up to €1,270 or on indictment to a fine up to £25,000 and/or and two years’ imprisonment. A further fine of up to £2000 per day may be imposed if the contravention continues.
Persons authorised under legislation may enter derelict sites for any purpose under with the legislation. They may do such reasonable things as are necessary, including taking surveys, plans, levels et cetera.
If the owner or occupier refuses permission to enter, an entry may be authorised by the District Court. In the case of occupied land, at least 24 hours’ notice of the intended entry must be given. The application for the order must be made on notice to the occupier in the case of occupied land and to the owner, in the case of unoccupied land.
2018 Act (effective 25 July 2018)
The Derelict Sites levy is 3% of the market value of the urban land concerned.It is to increase to 7% in 2020 and any subsequent financial year. The vacant site levy is not also payable where the derelict site levy applies.
The amount of the derelict sites levy shall
- in respect of the local financial year prescribed in be such amount as is equal to 3 per cent of the market value of urban land concerned,
- in respect of any subsequent local financial year falling before the year 2020, be such amount as is equal to— 3 per cent of the said market value, or such other percentage (not exceeding 3 per cent) of the said market value as may stand prescribed for the time being, and
- in respect of the local financial year 2020 or any subsequent local financial year, be such amount as is equal to— 7 per cent of the said market value, or such other percentage (not exceeding 7 per cent) of the said market value as may stand prescribed for the time being.”
Powers & Duties of Local Authorities
A local authority may, for any purpose arising in relation to their functions under the Act, by notice in writing require the occupier of any structure or other land or any person receiving, whether for himself or for another, rent out of any structure or other land to state in writing to such authority, within a specified time not less than fourteen days after being so required, particulars of the estate, interest, or right by virtue of which he occupies such structure or other land or receives such rent (as the case may be), and the name and address (so far as they are known to him) of every person who to his knowledge has any estate or interest in or right over or in respect of such structure or other land.
Where land entered on the register or an interest in such land, is transferred (other than by will or on an intestacy) from a person to another person, it shall be the duty of both persons to notify in writing the local authority in whose functional area the land is situated of the transfer not later than four weeks after the date of the transfer.
Where land entered on the register or an interest in such land, is transferred to a person by will or on an intestacy, it shall be the duty of that person to notify in writing the local authority in whose functional area the land is situated of the transfer not later than six months after the date of the transfer and it shall be the duty of the personal representative of the person under whose will or upon whose intestacy the land, or the interest in land, is transferred as aforesaid to notify in writing the said local authority of the transfer not later than two months after the date of the grant to him of probate of the said will or letters of administration of the estate of the second mentioned person.
When a local authority is notified by any person of a transfer of land, or an interest in land, under this section, it shall cause the appropriate entry in the register to be amended. Every person who is required to state in writing any matter or thing to a local authority and either fails so to state such matter or thing within the time appointed under this section or, when so stating any such matter or thing, makes any statement in writing which is to his knowledge false or misleading in a material respect, is guilty of an offence.