Pyrite Remediation Scheme

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Dáil Issues, Environment, Oral Questions

Clare questions the Minister for the Environment in relation to the need for the government to review the operation of the pyrite remediation process, with particular reference to updating the scheme in light of the experiences of some of the works, and the need to extend the scheme to homeowners with pyrite but a damage rating of less than 2. Shamefully the government goes into the recess without sorting the issue of homeowners with pyrite not being able to access their entitlement to the property tax exemption because of the need for ground tests to be carried out…a shameful betrayal…

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has had any discussions with the Minister for Finance over the past 12 months in order to enable homeowners with pyrite to claim their exemption for Local Property Tax, without an infill test, with particular reference to offering assistance to the Department of Finance in relation to how the Pyrite Remediation Scheme operates; how information from that source could be made available to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 16th July, 2015.

Ref No: 28733/15
REPLY

Minister of State for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Paudie Coffey)

Section 10A of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) provides for a temporary exemption of at least three consecutive years from the charge to Local Property Tax (LPT) for residential properties that have been certified as having “significant pyritic damage”.

To avail of the exemption, the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Pyrite Exemption) Regulations 2013

require that a liable person be in a position to demonstrate ‘significant pyritic damage’ to his/her property, i.e. the property must –

(a) have a Damage Condition Rating of 2 or a Damage Condition Rating of 1 (with progression) established on foot of a Building Condition Assessment carried out by a competent person under and in accordance with I.S. 398 -1:2013 Reactive pyrite in sub-floor hardcore material – Part 1: Testing and Categorisation Protocol , and
(b) have sub-floor hardcore material classified, by the appropriate competent person(s), as susceptible to significant or limited expansion, established on foot of testing the sub-floor hardcore material.

The legislation in this area is consistent with the recommendation set out in the Report of the Pyrite Panel

(July 2012), which recommended that an exemption from the LPT should be provided for dwellings where damage from pyritic heave is proven by testing. The costs associated with meeting these requirements are a matter for those who wish to avail of the exemption; they cannot be recouped from my Department. However, where a property is accepted into the pyrite remediation scheme, the costs incurred by a homeowner in respect of a Building Condition Assessment may be recouped from the Housing Agency, subject to a maximum of €500.

In addition, having particular regard to the costs associated with testing, my Department is engaging with the Department of Finance in order to explore possible alternatives to the requirement for testing. In this context, my colleague, the Minister for Finance, has initiated a review of the operation of the LPT. I understand that the review will primarily have regard to recent residential property price developments, the overall yield from LPT and the desirability of achieving relative stability in LPT payments. The review will also address a number of issues which have arisen in relation to the efficient and effective administration of LPT, among which is likely to be the matter of the operation of the pyrite exemption provisions. Further discussions in this matter will take place in due course between my Department and the Department of Finance.

Question No. 8

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views regarding the operation of the Pyrite Remediation Schemes, with particular reference to any consideration being provided to widen the terms of the scheme to include more homeowners with pyrite, particularly those who do not have a Building and Construction Authority rating of two; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 16th July, 2015.

Ref No: 28734/15

REPLY

Minister of State for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Paudie Coffey)

The pyrite remediation scheme, which was first published by the Pyrite Resolution Board in February of 2014, was developed having regard to, inter alia, the recommendations set out in the Report of the Pyrite Panel (July 2012) and the relevant provisions of the Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 . The full conditions for eligibility are set out in the scheme, which is available on the Board’s website, www.pyriteboard.ie. It is a condition of eligibility under the scheme that an application to the Board must be accompanied by a Building Condition Assessment, carried out by a competent person in accordance with I.S. 398-1:2013 Reactive pyrite in sub-floor hardcore material – Part 1: Testing and categorisation protocol , indicating a Damage Condition Rating of 2. I have no proposals to amend this eligibility criterion.

The pyrite remediation scheme is a scheme of “last resort” which aims to repair homes with substantial damage due to pyritic heave and is targeted to assist a restricted group of homeowners who have no other practicable options to access redress.

My Department understands that, in a number of cases, dwellings which had a Damage Condition Rating of 1 when their Building Condition Assessments were first completed have now progressed to a Damage Condition Rating of 2; these dwellings have now been included in the pyrite remediation scheme. This shows that the scheme, while remaining targeted at those dwellings with a Damage Condition Rating of 2, can accommodate properties which , although initially not meeting that requirement, are subsequently found to have progressed to that level of damage.