Developers owe councils €750m in levies

The director general of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) says there is no point in local authorities pressing for monies on developments that have not yet been built.

Tom Parlon was responding to figures provided by Phil Hogan, the environment minister, showing that there is €751.2m in unpaid developer levies to local authorities across the country.

The figures, supplied by Mr Hogan in a written Dáil response to Simon Harris TD (FG), show Fingal County Council is owed €131m or 17% of the overall total, while €106.4m is owed to Dublin City Council and €90.8m owed to Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council.

Outside Dublin, the largest amount owed is to Cork County Council at €52.7m.

Many of the owed levies relate to planning permissions granted with levies attached where no work has begun and may never start.

Last night, a spokeswoman for Fingal council said: “Considerable resources are put into collecting levies without resorting to the court system but, in cases where all alternatives have failed, the council pursues the recovery of debts as a simple contract debt, as provided for in the relevant legislation.”

Yesterday, Mr Parlon said: “Those developers that owe money for houses they have built and sold need to pay the levies — it’s as simple as that. Otherwise they are leaving the local authority out of pocket and that is impacting on the public. Where properties have been built and sold no development levies should be outstanding.

“We don’t want to see situations arise like what happened in Wicklow when the local authority levied the outstanding development charges on the householders who had purchased the properties. No householder should be subjected to these charges. It is completely unfair on them. It also damages the local authorities and the building industry in general... We need to have a process in place so that the development levies are paid before the sale of any unit is completed. This would prevent any problems like this arising and it would ensure that the local authorities and the householders are protected.

“It is also worth noting that some of the outstanding fees relate to development levies applied to planning permissions. There is no point in a local authority pressing for money for a development that hasn’t been built. The developer won’t have access to that money until they sell the properties.”

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