How to apply for a local authority serviced site

The Croí Cónaithe Towns Fund now makes serviced sites available at a discounted rate to people looking to build their home in a rural town or village in ROI.

Local authorities are making serviced sites, i.e. sites with the necessary infrastructure such as electricity, water and wastewater, available in towns and villages to people who want to move to a rural area. The site must be used to self-build their home to live in.

The Ready to Build scheme (Serviced Sites for New Homes) subsidises the cost of buying a site by servicing it for free. The maximum discount off the sale price is €30,000.

The government previously said the plan would make 2,000 sites available by 2025.

Local authorities will develop existing sites in their control or purchase sites to make them available for development by providing services and access. Local authorities will apply a discount to the sale price, depending on the level of servicing cost.

The maximum discount is €30,000 from the market value. For example, if a local authority purchases or owns a site with a market value of €30k and gets the site serviced for €30k, the market value of the site is €60k. The local authority makes the site available for sale at €30k, the discount being equivalent to the cost of servicing the site. 

If the purchaser of the site does not comply with the scheme’s planning permission and home building requirements, s/he must repay the €30,000 to the local authority. If the purchaser sells the home within 10 years, it must pay the local authority a clawback amount.  

The self-build scheme is part of the ROI government’s Housing for All plan, and supports the Our Rural Future policy and the recently published Town Centre First policy, which aims to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into our town centres. 

All available sites will be advertised on the relevant local authority’s website and on relevant local publications.  

The application form, eligibility criteria and associated FAQs will provide additional information to people who would like to avail of the scheme.

The Vacant Homes Officer in your local authority can help with the application and let you know what sites are available.

Other conditions to qualify for the Serviced Sites for New Homes Scheme 

  • You can only purchase one site under this scheme and your taxes need to be in order
  • You must apply for planning permission to build your principal private residence on the site within three months of receiving approval to purchase and payment of deposit. Where this does not happen the site will revert to the local authority. Transfer of ownership (and payment of balance of purchase) shall only take place on confirmation of receipt of planning permission.
  • Building must start within 12 months of receipt of planning permission. Where this does not occur, the full monetary value of the discount must be repaid to the local authority. 
  • Clawback conditions apply if you sell the house within a 10 year period.

This self-build scheme complements the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant scheme, also funded through Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund. That fund has the same eligibility criteria and aims to encourage people to renovate derelict buildings in rural towns and villages.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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