To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government if the cost rental pilot project has gone to tender; when construction is due to commence; the number of units due to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government is committed to the introduction of a not-for-profit, cost rental sector in Ireland. Together with delivering more affordable and predictable rents, cost rental will make a sustainable impact on national competitiveness and the attractiveness of our main urban centres as places to live and work.
Under the cost rental model, minimising retained earnings, land and other delivery costs, while securing very competitive European Investment Bank (EIB) financing, means that affordable rents can be achieved. The final rents, for any given project, will be set after all associated costs are determined, following on from the competitive construction and management tender processes. Cost rental homes will be targeted at households earning low to moderate annual incomes up to a maximum of €50,000 for single applicants and €75,000 for dual applicants.
The Government has made €310m available to local authorities to fund facilitating infrastructure to deliver affordable housing from its sites. The funding is available for cost rental projects and can contribute to reducing costs even further. The terms of any loan funding arrangements put in place for individual projects will be determined on a case by case basis.
Cost rental is new to Ireland and in order to drive delivery, two early mover pilot projects are being advanced, delivering important lessons in terms of cost rental in an Irish setting; one at Enniskerry Road, in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and one at Emmet Road in Inchicore. It is expected that 50 cost rental units and 105 social homes will be made available on the Enniskerry Road site. It is anticipated that the assessment of tenders will be complete and a contract will be awarded by the end of Q1 2019.
With regard to the Emmet Road site, while this project is at an earlier stage of development, it is envisaged that the final tenure-mix, which will be decided by Dublin City Council, will likely include 140 social housing homes, with the remaining 330 homes predominantly provided under cost rental arrangements. The City Council has appointed a dedicated project manager and a team to drive the project forward and are currently procuring a design for the Urban Design Development Framework Plan which will be completed by end Q1 2019. Thereafter, the Council will procure a multi-disciplinary design team to prepare the project for the planning application stage.
In addition to pre-existing consultative arrangements, the Council is also facilitating a Consultative Forum specifically for this project. The Council has held three information sessions for the public, community and business representatives. The Consultative Forum has met twice and its third meeting, which I will attend, will take place later today. I understand the Consultative Forum plan to establish a number of sub-committees to address issues related to, inter alia, education, social regeneration, community facilities and economic development.
Cost rental will initially be managed on an administrative basis, and my Department is preparing a draft administrative cost rental framework in collaboration with the Housing Agency and the local authorities involved in the pilot projects. The invaluable learning from the above-mentioned projects will inform further cost rental projects to be rolled out across other suitable sites.
My Department is engaging with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and the new Land Development Agency (LDA) to examine the optimum funding and delivery options to support cost rental delivery at scale. My Department is also working with the EIB to leverage its advisory and research capacity so that broader international lessons on the operation of cost rental can inform Ireland's approach
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