Irwin meeting on empty homes rating

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has met with the Finance Minister Conor Murphy to discuss the issue of the rating of empty homes.
William Irwin MLAWilliam Irwin MLA
William Irwin MLA

Whilst Mr Irwin said he believes that the system gets it right “most of the time”, he argued that cases where old derelict farm houses were being rated at the same time as the farm’s functioning dwelling house, was a “bill too far” for the rural community.

Mr Irwin said: “Each time I make my concerns known more people come forward who find themselves receiving a steep rates bill for an old derelict property that has no prospect of being lived in or renovated. I held a meeting with the Finance Minister in recent days and it was a useful exchange along with senior Land & Property Services officials on this issue.

“I have had a number of discussions in recent days with constituents who are paying rates on their current dwelling and also are paying rates for an old uninhabited derelict house in the farm yard.

“I had been pressing the Minister and the Department for the creation of a further exclusion to cover these types of properties. However, officials will instead look at assessing the potential to increase the valuation threshold. This would mean, dependent on overall condition, properties in these specific categories could qualify to receive a £0 rates bill if a property valuation came in below any new higher threshold.

“The current valuation threshold is set at £20,000 which is quite low and I feel this needs to be realistically increased and hopefully officials can work on this request. I will continue this engagement and hopefully a resolution can be found and I thank the Minister and his officials for their time.”