Derelict Sites

Derelict Site Definition

The Derelict Sites Act, 1990, defines a derelict site as any land that “detracts, or is likely to detract, to a material degree from the amenity, character or appearance of land in the neighbourhood of the land in question because of”:

Structures which are in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition, or

The neglected, unsightly or objectionable condition of the land or of structures on it, or

The presence, deposit or collection of litter, rubbish, debris or waste

The Council can force owners to clean up these sites. It may prosecute owners who do not comply with notices served, to purchase land compulsorily; and to carry out necessary work themselves and charge the owners for the cost.



Under the Derelict Sites Act 1990, it is an offence to:

Remove, damage or deface a notice posted by the local authority regarding a derelict site.

Fail to carry out the measures required by the local authority to prevent a property from being classed as derelict within an allotted time.

Fail to notify the local authority of the transfer of land or interest in land (other than by will or on an intestacy) from one person to another. Both parties must notify the local authority in writing within 4 weeks of the transfer.

Fail to notify the local authority of the transfer of land or interest in land by will or on an intestacy. The new owner must notify the local authority in writing within 6 months and the representative of the person under whose will or upon whose intestacy the transfer occurred must notify the local authority in writing within 2 months.

Prevent an authorised person from entering or carrying out authorised business on the derelict site.

Anyone who commits an offence under this Act can be prosecuted by the local authority.


Compulsory Purchase

The local authority can buy a derelict site in its area, either by agreement with the owner or by compulsory purchase. It must advertise the details of any proposed compulsory purchase in the local newspaper and send a notice to the owner or occupier of the land, giving information about how and where to object to the purchase. If an objection is made, the local authority cannot buy the land without the consent of An Bord Pleanála.

If An Bord Pleanála approves the compulsory purchase and the local authority has dealt with any objections received, the local authority can buy the land, using a vesting order.


Derelict Sites Levy

The derelict sites levy amounts to 3% of the market value of the land concerned. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government may prescribe a higher percentage, which cannot be more than 10% of the market value.