To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the anticipated number of repair and lease scheme units due to be operational in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) and the Buy and Renew Scheme have been developed to assist local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to harness the accommodation potential that exists in certain vacant dwellings across Ireland.
The RLS is targeted at owners of vacant dwellings, who cannot afford or access the funding needed to bring their dwellings up to the required standard for rental property. Subject to the suitability of the dwelling for social housing, and the agreement of the property owner, the cost of the necessary repairs will be met upfront by the local authority or an AHB.
At the end of 2017, a total of 820 applications had been received under the scheme. Local authorities were engaging with the property owners in relation to 573 properties, 31 agreements for lease had been signed and 9 homes had been delivered and tenanted. A detailed breakdown of the RLS scheme data up to end Q4 2017 is available on my Department’s website at the following link:
It is clear from the end 2017 output that RLS has not yet delivered the level of new social housing homes envisaged. I have reviewed the operation of the scheme, as part of the review of Rebuilding Ireland, and I have concluded that the scheme has significant potential but there are areas where it can be improved to make it more attractive and effective. At the second Housing Summit held on 22 January 2018, I announced a number of key changes to the scheme which took effect from 1 February 2018. These include:
a reduction in the minimum lease term required from 10 to 5 years;
an increase in the proportion of market rent available to property owners where they take on more responsibilities under the tenancy, meaning that up to 92% of market rent will be available; and
provision of additional funding for property owners, over and above the current €40,000 limit, where the dwelling is a bedsit type dwelling being brought into compliance with the Standards for Rented Houses Regulations and made available for social housing.
I am making €32 million available for the scheme in 2018 and I expect local authorities and AHBs to continue to implement the scheme locally.
Over the period 2016 to 2021, the national target is for the delivery of an additional 50,000 social housing homes through Build, Acquisition and Leasing Schemes. The ambition is for 33,500 of these homes to be delivered through new build programmes including Part V; for 6,500 to be delivered through Acquisition programmes including the Housing Agency Acquisition Programme; and for the remaining 10,000 homes to be delivered under a range of leasing initiatives including the RLS. Out of the total 10,000 homes to be delivered under Leasing, it is expected that 2,000 will be leased by local authorities in 2018 under a range of leasing initiatives, including the Repair and Leasing Scheme, long term leasing and the new Enhanced Lease.
I wrote to all Local Authorities on 18 April 2018 setting out their social housing delivery targets for build, acquisition and leasing for 2018, and for the period 2018-2021. The targets are published at the following link:
The RLS data for end Q1 2018 are currently being collated and will be published shortly.
In the case of the Buy and Renew Scheme, funding is made available by my Department to facilitate local authorities in acquiring and remediating vacant properties that may be suitable for social housing.
As with standard acquisitions, local authorities have delegated responsibility to utilise the Buy and Renew Scheme, as part of the blend of property acquisitions, as appropriate to their area, given housing need and the availability of properties of different types. To date, my Department has supported the purchase and remediation of over 90 such homes under the scheme, details of which are set out in the table below.
Local Authority Number of homes
Clare County Council 1
Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council 12
Fingal County Council 11
Kerry County Council 14
Kildare County Council 2
Limerick City & County Council 16
Meath County Council 14
Monaghan County Council 16
Offaly County Council 1
Tipperary County Council 1
Waterford City & County Council 6
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