Donegal County Council Logo
Home > Services > Planning > Unfinished Housing Estates

Unfinished Housing Estates


Unfinished Housing Estates


A National Survey of Unfinished Housing Developments was carried out in 2011 which categorised Unfinished Developments into one of four categories, being Categories 1, 2, 3 & 4.


In 2012 the annual Household Charge was introduced.Those Unfinished Housing Developments which were categorised as Category 3 or 4 in the 2011 National Survey were eligible for a waiver and did not have to pay the Household Charge in 2012.


Unfinished Housing Developments were categorised as Category 3 or 4 on the basis of the following criteria:

Category 3 

(i) developer is in place,
(ii) there is no on-site activity,
(iii) the developer is responsible for public safety,
(iv) serious public safety issues are present.


Category 4 

(i) no construction activity on site,
(ii) no receiver appointed,
(iii) serious public safety issues are present,
(iv) efforts to contact developer/owner unsuccessful,
(v) efforts to compel developer/owner to address safety issues unsuccessful,
(vi) enforcement unlikely to yield quick/successful result.



A National Survey of Unfinished Housing Developments was carried out again in subsequent years up to and including 2020. The results of these surveys can be viewed HERE.


As part of the initial National Survey, all Local Authorities were required to determine which Unfinished Developments, or parts thereof, could be considered to be in a ‘Seriously Problematic Condition’.


An Unfinished Development or part thereof would be considered to be in a ‘Seriously Problematic Condition’ if it failed to positively meet the following nationally consistent criteria:

1. Installation and commissioning of public lighting;
2. Provision of potable water supply;
3. Provision of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems sufficient to ensure that, in the opinion of the Local Authority, no pollution or public health issues are arising;
4. Access road to at least base course level;
5. Provision of access to the dwelling by constructed footpath;
6. Provision of open space capable of serving the amenity need of the permitted dwelling and being suitable for access and use by members of the public.


N.B. Deficiencies in landscaping (e.g. tree planting) of public open space or similar would not render a development to be in a seriously problematic condition. In addition, for developments constructed in phases, access to public open space meeting the criteria above on other phases of the development was deemed sufficient.


In 2013 it was decided to replace the Annual Household Charge with the Local Property Tax. Experience with the arrangements for waiver from the Household Charge in 2012 indicated that a more reliable and consistent methodology was needed to determine the circumstances of waiver from the Local Property Tax in 2013.


The Minister decided that the fairest and most consistent way to develop a waiver list for the Property Tax in 2013 was to rely on the identification in the 2012 Survey of those unfinished developments, or parts thereof which were deemed to be in a ‘Seriously Problematic Condition’ and subsequently published a list of these estates.


N.B – it is important to note that not all unfinished housing developments were deemed to be in a ‘Seriously Problematic Condition’. In addition not all unfinished developments categorised as being in a ‘Seriously Problematic Condition’ were covered by the waiver, this is because problematic developments which do not contain completed homes were not designated as liability only arises for homeowners.


The FINANCE (LOCAL PROPERTY TAX) (AMENDMENT) ACT 2021 enacted on 22 July 2021, updated the regulations governing the Local Property Tax.This update includes the removal of the exemption which applied for property in unfinished housing estates.


There is no longer an exemption for properties in Unfinished Housing Developments.