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One-fifth of Mayo’s houses are second homes

One-fifth of Mayo’s houses are second homes

Anton McNulty

Nearly one-fifth of all homes in Co Mayo are classified as second homes, with over €1.5 million paid to Mayo County Council since the introduction of the non-principal private residence (NPPR) charge in last April’s budget.
Under the charge, people who own NPPR properties (defined as properties that are not their sole or main residence) are charged €200 per such property. To date, Mayo County Council has collected €1,581,560 from the tax – the tax take from 7,907 second homes in Co Mayo. According to the register of electors, there are approximately 40,000 households in the county, which means that nearly one-fifth are classified as second homes.
The secretary of Mayo County Council, John Condon, told The Mayo News that while some of the people who have paid the tax are from outside Mayo, the majority are from the county. He explained that while holiday homes are included in this scheme, ‘investment’ houses located in towns that people bought to let are also included. “If there are over 7,500 second homes in the county, it gives an idea of the magnitude of the property that is there. That in itself is food for thought,” he said.
The NPPR charge has been a huge success for local authorities around the country, with more than €51 million raised since it was introduced – €11 million more than the Department of the Environment initially predicted. This year’s payment was due by the end of September, but that deadline was extended by a month. Late payments incur a penalties of €20 a month.
Mr Condon said that Mayo County Council is expecting a slight increase in tax take from the charge before the year is out. When the tax was introduced, the Council’s Local Authority Fund was cut by €1.2 million, which means the NPPR charge has given the Council a gain of €300,000 in tax. However, Mr Condon warned that the Council will have to wait until it is  allocated its 2010 funding from the Government before it decides what to spend the extra money on. Only then would they be able to decide how the NPPR money could be spent.