Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (430)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

430. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the measures he is undertaking to ensure an improved system of social housing maintenance in local authorities with faster reaction times to serious maintenance issues and less stop gap measures to deal with recurring problems. [12965/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, the management and maintenance of the local authority housing stock, including the carrying out of routine and planned maintenance programmes to properties and estates, is the responsibility of the relevant housing authority. Housing and estate maintenance programmes are funded directly by local authorities from their own resources, including from rental income and receipts from the disposal of properties and sales of houses to tenants.

It is a matter for each local authority to determine its own spending priorities in the context of the annual budgetary process having regard to both locally identified needs and available resources. The adoption of the Local Authority annual budget is a reserved function and I, as Minister of State, have no direct function in relation to this area or in relation to spending of rental income from local authority lettings.

I appreciate the need for improved systems of social housing maintenance in local authorities with faster reaction times to repair and maintenance issues and the timely execution of pre-letting repairs. We need better, real-time information to inform my Department’s policy on improving the social housing stock and to give a sharper focus and better targeting of scarce resources at those areas which will give the best return on the investment made. In order to better understand the quality and distribution of the stock and to facilitate the setting of sound and robust improvement targets, my Department, in conjunction with the local authorities, is undertaking an audit of the 130,000 social housing units. Over time, this will build up a comprehensive profile of the stock and enable the compilation of targeted strategies to address deficiencies in terms of overall quality, thermal efficiency etc.