A range of housing options are necessary to ensure a supply of accommodation to meet different types of social housing need. Harnessing the off-balance sheet potential of private investment in social housing is an important objective of the Government and the social housing targets set out in Rebuilding Ireland over the period to 2021 reflect the ambition in that regard.
Of the 50,000 social housing homes to be delivered under Rebuilding Ireland, 10,000 are targeted to be leased by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) under leasing arrangements from a range of different sources, including the Repair and Lease Scheme (RLS), the existing social housing leasing arrangements, and the new Enhanced Lease Scheme. All homes delivered under leasing arrangements will be funded under the Department’s Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP).
It is intended that just over 2,000 units will be leased by Local Authorities in 2019 through a combination of longterm leasing arrangements, including the Enhanced Leasing Scheme.
The Enhanced Leasing Scheme has been developed by my Department, together with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), the Housing Agency and local authorities, in order to harness the potential of private sector interest in social housing delivery in a new set of long-term leasing arrangements, in a manner designed to leverage off-balance sheet funding opportunities in accordance with Rebuilding Ireland objectives. The Scheme is targeted at new build or new to the market properties to be delivered at scale and will complement the existing long-term leasing arrangements, which will continue to be available. There are, however, a number of key differences between the standard long term lease and the enhanced lease, the purpose of which is to facilitate larger levels of private investment in social housing while ensuring that the capital investment is off balance sheet in respect of Government expenditure.
The scheme is governed by my Department and operated by local authorities. The Housing Agency manages and administers the scheme on behalf of my Department and will act as a national co-ordinator.
Two Calls for Proposals were run for interested parties during 2018; the first from January to April and the second from August to October. A significant number of potential properties were submitted for consideration by interested parties, in over 40 no. full submissions. A large number of these submissions did not meet the minimum requirements of the scheme, which included having appropriate planning permission in place and suitability for social housing. 3 proposals are currently at an advanced stage of the financial and associated diligence process, and are moving towards Agreement for Lease stage. Detailed information with respect to the numbers and locations of the units proposed for leasing under the Scheme will only be available once the individual proposals have been fully cleared and accepted in accordance with the terms and methodology set out in the Calls for Proposals documents and the respective Local Authorities have signed any Agreements for Lease arising.
The scheme is now open on an ongoing basis from Q1 2019.