To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the estimated number of units to be delivered in each of the pilot projects for a new cost rental scheme; the timeframe for their delivery; the criteria for their allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Against the background of the affordability pressures which currently exist in the rental market, the Government is determined to make cost rental a major part of the Irish housing system, similar to the role it plays in many other European countries. Under this approach, rents are set at levels to recover the construction costs and to facilitate the management and administration of developments, but with only a minimal profit margin included.
A pilot project is currently being progressed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, at Enniskerry Road in Sandyford, in conjunction with the Housing Agency and Approved Housing Bodies, using land owned by the Agency. Respond and Túath have been selected as development agents to bring the site forward for development, which will include the construction of 105 social housing and 50 cost rental homes. It is expected that construction on this site will commence before the end of the year.
Learning from the initial experience in the pilot scheme, my Department is working with the National Development Finance Agency, European Investment Bank, and other key stakeholders with a view to developing the large-scale cost rental projects, particularly in major urban areas, as well as a pipeline of further projects, to be developed and advanced by local authorities. Initial feasibility analysis is underway and I expect to be in a position to make an announcement on a major cost rental project to be advanced in Dublin city shortly.
I announced new measures in January of this year that are specifically targeted at delivering more affordable homes generally to households with maximum gross incomes of €50,000 for single applicants and €75,000 for joint applicants. The income criteria for access to a cost rental scheme will take into account the broader policy development on affordable housing.
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