Local Authority Rates

Questions (1370)

Michael McGrath

Question:

1370. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on whether local authority archives services should be exempt from paying local authority commercial rates; if provision will be made for same as part of the Local Government (Rates) Bill 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12876/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Local Government (Rates) Bill 2018 is currently before the Oireachtas and has completed Second Stage in the Dáil. The Bill contains important proposals for the modernisation of the legislation and regime governing commercial rates. The Bill is a key priority of my Department and when enacted, will facilitate more effective and streamlined rates collection procedures.

Separately the Department is undertaking a review of the Valuation Act 2001, specifically evaluating Schedules 3 and 4, governing rates exemptions and inclusions. Local authorities are represented on this Review Group.

Fire Safety Regulations

Questions (1371)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

1371. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the revelations made in the media on 10 March 2019 (details supplied) relating to fire safety standards; and if proposals will be brought forward in order to update the fire safety regulations. [12947/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Building Regulations apply to the design and construction of a new building and to certain works to existing buildings. The minimum performance requirements that a building must achieve are set out in the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations. These requirements are set out in 12 parts classified as Parts A to M.

Part B (Fire safety) of the Regulations sets down the statutory minimum standards of fire safety provision which must be achieved when a new building, including a dwelling, is designed and constructed or when an existing building is subject to works involving an extension, a material alteration or a material change of use. Technical Guidance Document B (TGD B) contains guidance, compliance with which will, prima facie, indicate compliance with Part B. However, as with all Parts, the adoption of an approach other than that outlined in the guidance is not precluded provided that the relevant requirements of the regulations (e.g. Part B) are complied with. Part B is set out in broad performance terms.

Work is ongoing on the review of Part B/TDG B Fire Safety. It has been decided in the interest of clarity to separate the guidance into two volumes. A new Part B/ TGD B Volume 2 was published in 2017 and came into force on 1 July 2017. This Volume 2 applies to dwellings only. Volume 1, dealing with buildings other than dwellings, is currently being prepared for public consultation shortly. This guidance document will provide greater clarity on the conditions required to demonstrate compliance with Building Regulations taking into account the changes in standards since the last review.

Part III of the Building Control Regulations require a Fire Safety Certificate (FSC) to be obtained for new buildings (with some exceptions) and certain works to existing buildings. The FSC ensures the building/works if constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted, comply with the requirements of Part B of the Building Regulations. As such, an application is examined technically, by the Chief Fire Officer /Building Control Authority, for compliance with Part B, either on the basis of TGD B or through alternative approaches to providing fire safety. Dublin Fire Brigade assesses and processes Fire Safety Certificate applications for Dublin City Council and on behalf of Fingal County Council, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and South Dublin County Council.

A right of appeal is also provided for in this Part of the Building Control Regulations, in instances where a building control authority grant a fire safety certificate with conditions, or refuse to grant a fire safety certificate. The applicant may appeal to An Bord Pleanála against the decision of the building control authority. The Board is fully independent in the performance of these statutory functions.

In the three year period referred to in the newspaper article concerned, there were in the order of 1,800 fire safety certificates refused/granted, and An Bord Pleanála made 38 formal decisions. Of these decisions, 29 resulted in amendments to Dublin City Council's conditions, one resulted in the reversal of the refusal by DCC to grant a certificate and 8 appeals were refused by the Board.

Each decision is preceded by an inspector’s report commissioned by An Bord Pleanála which contains an assessment of the issues raised and a recommendation in relation to the appeal. The inspector’s report in each case is made available for inspection post decision on the Board’s website or in its offices.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (1372)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1372. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding and loans issued by the Housing Finance Agency under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme by local authority to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12989/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department requested the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) to provide figures for the amount of funding and loans issued by them under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme by local authority to date in tabular form.

The drawdown amounts by Local Authorities from the HFA to date are provided in the following table.

Local Authority

Advanced Amount

-

Carlow County Council

144,000

Cavan County Council

-

Clare County Council

2,249,104

Cork County Council

6,433,650

Cork City Council

-

Donegal County Council

173,875

Dublin City Council

27,588,461

Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council

1,023,500

Fingal County Council

15,212,249

Galway City Council

2,332,700

Galway County Council

2,331,631

Kerry County Council

682,600

Kildare County Council

-

Kilkenny County Council

679,240

Laois County Council

2,320,300

Leitrim County Council

184,500

Limerick City and County Council

-

Longford County Council

356,875

Louth County Council

3,143,900

Mayo County Council

943,707

Meath County Council

10,399,585

Monaghan County Council

67,500

Offaly Council

-

Roscommon County Council

450,800

Sligo County Council

869,000

South Dublin County Council

7,682,318

Tipperary County Council

1,041,050

Waterford City and County Council

1,486,625

Westmeath County Council

971,500

Wexford County Council

3,397,985

Wicklow County Council

4,530,475

Total

96,697,129

The Housing Finance Agency has sight of all recoupments that are made by local authorities for loans under the scheme. However, there is a time lag among some local authorities between issuing loans and approaching the HFA for recoupment of funds from the Agency for the scheme.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (1373)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1373. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding and loans issued under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme by local authority to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12990/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department publishes information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Information up to the end of Quarter 3 2018, including in relation to number and value of mortgage drawdowns, is available on the Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity.

As part of the Review of the operation of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, my Department obtained information from the local authorities on loans drawn down to the end of January. These details are set out in the following table:

Local Authority

Loans issued to end January 2019

Value of loans issued to end January 2019

Carlow County Council

5

€510,000

Cavan County Council

1

€180,000

Clare County Council

14

€1,708,622

Cork City Council

1

€120,000

Cork County Council

25

€4,058,900

Donegal County Council

3

€204,875

Dublin City Council

111

€23,525,855

Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council

5

€1,264,500

Fingal County Council

82

€18,254,259

Galway City Council

11

€1,679,000

Galway County Council

17

€2,263,781

Kerry County Council

6

€812,600

Kildare County Council

68

€14,973,597

Kilkenny County Council

6

€803,240

Laois County Council

12

€1,836,100

Leitrim County Council

0

€0

Limerick City & County Council

2

€343,800

Longford County Council

5

€356,875

Louth County Council

10

€1,829,500

Mayo County Council

8

€793,100

Meath County Council

57

€11,051,630

Monaghan County Council

1

€67,500

Offaly County Council

0

€0

Roscommon County Council

2

€242,000

Sligo County Council

8

€869,000

South Dublin County Council

29

€6,671,918

Tipperary County Council

15

€1,524,950

Waterford City & County Council

14

€2,039,292

Westmeath County Council

6

€971,500

Wexford County Council

33

€3,771,100

Wicklow County Council

18

€3,992,475

Total

575

€106,719,969

Water Conservation

Questions (1374, 1376)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1374. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the measures he has taken to introduce a BER-style water conservation rating for buildings in line with the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Future Funding of Domestic Water Services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12991/19]

View answer

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1376. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the measures he has taken to fund promote water conservation systems in line with the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Future Funding of Domestic Water Services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12993/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1374 and 1376 together.

The provisions of the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services have now been largely legislated for, as required, in the Water Services Act 2017. Promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water is central to my Department’s water policy. The Government's Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025, as published in May last year, sets out the range of policy objectives across the key thematic areas of quality, conservation and future proofing that will be pursued between now and 2025.

Reflecting the provisions contained in the Water Services Act 2017 and, in line with the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee, the Policy Statement supports the promotion of water conservation and water resource management as an important element of water services policy that is to be reflected in strategic investment planning by Irish Water. For the period of the Policy Statement, this will involve the prioritisation of multifaceted programmes around leak detection and repair, network improvements, cost effective metering, public awareness campaigns and funding to fix customer side leaks. The National Leakage Reduction Programme in particular includes investment of some €250 million over the next four years under the Find and Fix repair scheme and the Water Mains Rehabilitation programme.

Legislative provision to discourage the excessive use of water services was included in the Water Services Act 2017. Excessive usage is determined by reference to the threshold amount of 213,000 litres per household per annum as specified by ministerial order with effect from 1 January 2018, in line with provisions contained in sections 8 and 9 of the Water Services Act 2017.

Irish Water is responsible for developing and implementing the necessary administrative arrangements, including billing arrangements, subject to oversight and approval by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). The amount to be charged will be determined by the CRU and the process that is to lead to a decision in this regard has now commenced.

Once administrative arrangements and charges have been approved by the CRU, Irish Water will be in a position later this year to notify relevant customers who, having regard to their consumption patterns during 2018, appear to be consuming water services excessively and therefore potentially liable for excessive usage charges. Only customers who continue to consume water services excessively during the six month period following receipt of a formal notice in this way, will become liable for charges to cover excessive usage during the six month notice period and any subsequent periods.

The overall aim is to encourage water conservation rather than to generate revenue. On this basis, I understand that Irish Water will work proactively with relevant customers to identify whatever practical steps may be necessary in order to address their situation and bring their consumption back within the threshold level. Additional allowance amounts for water usage will be available to larger households (where the number of residents exceeds four) and exemptions will be available in cases of medical need.

The Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee recommended a proactive approach to promoting awareness of water conservation, and Irish Water places a strong emphasis on this important area. A dedicated section on the Irish Water website provides information in relation to water conservation at www.water.ie/bewatersmart. The content includes suggested lifestyle changes to save water and information on how to check for water leaks in the home. Information is also available on water saving devices outside of the home, including rainwater butts and rainwater reuse for the farming sector.

Irish Water’s website also has a facility where members of the public can report leaks in public areas. Based on the information provided, Irish Water will follow up to confirm a leak on the public mains and complete a repair.

Irish Water supports a number of environmental education campaigns which raise awareness, promote understanding and encourage people to take action on water conservation issues. This includes the Green Schools Programme, which has delivered savings of 360 million litres of water in schools in one year alone. Irish Water has also engaged with primary and secondary schools as part of Engineers Ireland’s Engineers Week, to increase knowledge and awareness of water conservation and its benefits to the environment.

Irish Water has undertaken a research study to provide an in-depth understanding of household water usage. The insights will help guide the roll out of product and behavioural interventions to improve water conservation in Ireland. Key findings show that, in general, people agree with the need to value and conserve water. These research findings are providing recommendations for behavioural change and water saving devices inside the home.

The Water Services Policy Statement is expected to influence all stakeholders, including An Fóram Uisce, which has a specific advisory role in relation to water conservation under the Water Services Act 2017. Having regard to its statutory role, the Policy Statement provides that An Fóram Uisce will also consider the recommendations in respect of water conservation included in the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee, with a view to identifying practical steps for their implementation.

Water Conservation

Question No. 1376 answered with Question No. 1374.

Questions (1375)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1375. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the measures he has taken to review the research budget of the EPA on water management and conservation in line with the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Future Funding of Domestic Water Services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12992/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as environmental regulator, is responsible for setting quality standards and enforcing compliance with EU directives and National Regulations for drinking water supplies and wastewater discharges to water bodies. Irish Water is the lead authority in relation to the management and conservation of public water supplies.

My Department engages on an ongoing basis with the EPA in relation to its role in respect of water and wastewater services, including with regard to the resource implications arising from its responsibilities. Under its Water Quality Programme, my Department funds the EPA to conduct a range of activities to facilitate and support the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive, including the water quality monitoring of rivers, lakes, estuaries and groundwater.

In relation to policy on water conservation, the Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025, which I published in May 2018, sets out a series of high-level policy objectives across the three thematic areas of Quality, Conservation, and Future Proofing, which must be pursued when planning capital investment and framing current spending plans. The EPA was involved as a key stakeholder in the process leading to preparation of the Policy Statement, which is available on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/water_services_policy_statement_2018-2025_0.pdf.

The Policy Statement supports the promotion of water conservation and water resource management as an important element of water services policy that is to be reflected in strategic investment planning by Irish Water. For the period of the Policy Statement, this will involve the prioritisation of multifaceted programmes around leak detection and repair, network improvements, cost effective metering, public awareness campaigns and funding to fix customer side leaks. The National Leakage Reduction Programme in particular includes investment of some €250 million over the next four years under the Find and Fix repair scheme and the Water Mains Rehabilitation programme.

This Policy Statement was informed by the 2017 Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services which was approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas and which includes a number of recommendations in relation to the continued use of metering to support water conservation, to reduce leakages and to ensure compliance with the European Union Water Framework Directive, as opposed to for revenue raising purposes. The Water Services Policy Statement is consistent with this position.

The Water Services Policy Statement is expected to influence all stakeholders, including An Fóram Uisce which has a statutory role in relation to water conservation and the EPA in respect of developing research proposals. Having regard to its statutory role, the Policy Statement provides that An Fóram Uisce will also consider the recommendations in respect of water conservation made by the Joint Oireachtas Committee with a view to identifying practical steps for their implementation.

Question No. 1376 answered with Question No. 1374.

Building Regulations

Questions (1377, 1378)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1377. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to establish a new building standards and consumer protection agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12994/19]

View answer

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1378. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to establish a redress scheme to assist homeowners with latent defects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12995/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1377 and 1378 together.

In the first instance, I would like to acknowledge the stressful circumstances which the owners and residents of buildings face when defects occur in their homes.

However, in general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved: the homeowner, the builder, the developer and/or their respective insurers, structural guarantee or warranty scheme. In this regard, it is incumbent on the parties responsible for poor workmanship and/or the supply of defective materials to face up to their responsibilities and take appropriate action to provide remedies for the affected homeowners.

It is important to note that while my Department has overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining an effective regulatory framework for building standards and building control, it has no general statutory role in resolving defects in privately owned buildings, including dwellings, nor does it have a budget for such matters.

Under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2014, primary responsibility for compliance of works with the requirements of the Building Regulations, rests with the owners, designers and builders of buildings. Enforcement of the Building Regulations is a matter for the 31 local building control authorities who have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Acts and who are independent in the use of their statutory powers. When a building is constructed and occupied, statutory responsibility for fire safety is assigned by section 18(2) of the Fire Services Acts, 1981 & 2003, to the ‘person having control’ of the building. In multi-unit developments, the "person having control" is generally the owner management company. Under the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011, the owner management company must establish a scheme for annual service charges and a sinking fund for spending on refurbishment, improvement or maintenance of a non-recurring nature of the multi-unit development.

While it is not intended to establish a new Building Standards and Consumer Protection Agency, stronger compliance with building standards has been a key priority for Government in response to the building failures that have emerged over the last decade. The Building Control Reform agenda was initiated in 2011, when a high level working group reviewed the existing building control regulatory framework. The key deficits identified in the regulatory regime were the lack of involvement of construction professionals on site and lack of accountability in relation to compliance with the Building Regulations.

In response, a three pronged Building Control Reform Agenda has been developed:

1. Reform of the Building Control process;

2. Establishment of a National Building Control Management Project; and

3. Putting the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory footing.

These reforms, while some are still in progress, have already brought, and will continue to bring, a new order and discipline to bear on construction projects, creating an enhanced culture of compliance with the Building Regulations.

Housing Agency Data

Questions (1379)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1379. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the €70 million rolling Housing Agency fund by county; the number of units delivered per annum since its inception to date by county; the average cost for each unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12996/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Under Actions 1.1, 2.5 and 5.6 of Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, the Housing Agency is actively engaged with banks and investment companies in relation to its acquisitions programme. An Acquisitions Fund of €70 m, which is a revolving fund, has been established with the objective of acquiring some 1,600 homes over the period to 2020 for social housing use.

The following table sets out the number of homes acquired and under Caretaker Lease and the average costs per county per annum since 2017.

Local Authority

Number of Homes

Average Purchase Price

Total to Date

Carlow

2018

1

€135,000

2019

5

€161,120

Total

6

€156,767

€940,600

Cavan

2018

4

€106,813

2019

1

€125,000

Total

5

€110,450

€552,250

Clare

2018

4

€112,500

2019

1

€170,000

Total

5

€124,000

€620,000

Cork CITY

2018

7

€185,971

Total

7

€185,971

€1,301,800

Cork COUNTY

2018

32

€175,816

2019

8

€276,950

Total

40

€196,043

€7,841,700

Donegal

2017

1

€85,000

2018

7

€82,000

Total

8

€82,375

€659,000

Dublin City

2017

5

€252,600

2018

97

€257,259

2019

5

€366,468

Total

107

€262,145

€28,049,473

Dun Laoghaire

2018

8

€272,938

2019

2

€263,500

Total

10

€271,050

€2,710,500

Fingal

2017

1

€165,000

2018

79

€199,849

2019

2

€300,000

Total

82

€201,866

€16,553,050

Galway CITY

2017

1

€131,000

2018

4

€242,500

Total

5

€220,200

€1,101,000

Galway COUNTY

2017

1

€120,000

2018

17

€162,794

Total

18

€160,417

€2,887,500

Kerry

2017

9

€190,000

2018

4

€105,750

2019

1

€185,000

Total

14

€165,571

€2,318,000

Kildare

2017

7

€272,500

2018

36

€204,729

2019

5

€186,800

Total

48

€212,745

€10,211,750

Kilkenny

2018

5

€120,700

Total

5

€120,700

€603,500

Laois

2017

1

€165,000

2018

19

€149,579

Total

20

€150,350

€3,007,000

Leitrim

2018

3

€86,667

Total

3

€86,667

€260,000

Limerick

2018

9

€144,000

2019

1

€175,000

Total

10

€147,100

€1,471,000

Longford

2018

3

€119,000

Total

3

€119,000

€357,000

Louth

2018

7

€159,429

2019

1

€180,000

Total

8

€162,000

€1,296,000

Mayo

2018

2

€125,000

Total

2

€125,000

€250,000

Meath

2017

3

€168,333

2018

14

€179,071

2019

1

€250,000

Total

18

€181,222

€3,262,000

Monaghan

2018

3

€133,333

Total

3

€133,333

€400,000

Offaly

2018

8

€127,500

2019

1

€80,000

Total

9

€122,222

€1,100,000

Roscommon

2018

1

€115,000

Total

1

€115,000

€115,000

Sligo

2018

1

€110,000

Total

1

€110,000

€110,000

South Dublin

2017

5

€190,000

2018

36

€202,083

2019

5

€246,400

Total

46

€205,587

€9,457,000

Tipperary

2018

29

€107,082

Total

29

€107,082

€3,105,375

Waterford

2018

14

€126,714

Total

14

€126,714

€1,774,000

Westmeath

2017

1

€95,000

2018

7

€150,436

2019

1

€178,000

Total

9

€147,339

€1,326,050

Wexford

2017

1

€60,000

2018

11

€116,909

Total

12

€112,167

€1,346,000

Wicklow

2018

9

€267,019

Total

9

€267,019

€2,403,170

Grand Total

557

€192,800

€107,389,718

Local Authority Housing

Questions (1380)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1380. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to establish a rolling fund for land purchases for local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12997/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

As matters stand, local authorities have a significant residential land bank which is being utilised to deliver homes through the social housing construction programme and other schemes under Rebuilding Ireland.

To support the strategic development of their land banks, all local authority residential sites were recorded on the Rebuilding Ireland land map. This land map can be accessed on the Rebuilding Ireland website at http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/rebuilding-ireland-land-map/. The map includes details of over 700 local authority and Housing Agency owned sites amounting to some 1,700 hectares, and local authorities have been requested to update the map on a quarterly basis.

In terms of funding, approximately €2.4 billion is being provided for housing in 2019. All local authorities are encouraged to bring forward viable and appropriate development proposals, which can be funded through the range of schemes and programmes that have been put in place.

While the development of existing local authority sites is the priority, in instances where a local authority has identified a need to acquire additional lands, it may seek to borrow the required finance from the Housing Finance Agency. Once the site is included within the social housing construction programme, my Department would normally consider recouping the land costs and any associated loan interest charges to the local authority, as part of the social housing project approval process.

In accordance with Section 106 of the Local Government Act 2001, as amended, a decision to borrow is a reserved function of the elected members of the local authority concerned who are accountable for all expenditure by the local authority. As such, 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.

Section 106 of the said Act also provides that local authorities must obtain the consent of the appropriate Minister to undertake borrowing. In this regard, a request to borrow for housing land acquisition can be submitted by the local authority to my Department. Sanction may be granted based on an assessment of the financial viability of potential loans insofar as individual local authorities are concerned, and an assessment as to whether the borrowing can be accommodated within the context of the fiscal rules. My Department will continue to work in a co-operative manner with local authorities regarding such applications.

Approved Housing Bodies

Questions (1381)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1381. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the enhanced leasing scheme by county; the number of units to be delivered under current agreements by county; the average cost for each unit per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12998/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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.

Approved Housing Bodies

Questions (1382, 1383, 1384, 1385)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1382. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of capital advance leasing facility funding provided to approved housing bodies by county per annum since its inception for housing unit acquisition; the number of units acquired by county per annum since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12999/19]

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Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1383. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of capital advance leasing facility funding provided to AHBs by county basis per annum since its inception for housing unit construction; the number of units constructed under CALF by county per annum since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13000/19]

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Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1384. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of capital advance leasing facility funding provided to AHBs by county per annum since its inception for housing unit refurbishment; the number of units refurbished under CALF by county per annum since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13001/19]

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Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1385. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of capital advance leasing facility funding applications received from approved housing bodies by county basis per annum since its inception; the number approved; the number of housing units associated with the application; the number refused; the number of housing units associated with the application; the number with additional information requests; the number of housing units associated with the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13002/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1382 to 1385, inclusive, together.

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are making an important contribution to social housing delivery, as envisaged in Rebuilding Ireland. My Department and local authorities administer a number of funding programmes to assist AHBs with the cost of building, buying and leasing new social houses. All funding is conditional on the properties being made available to households on local authority waiting lists.

Under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP), my Department, together with local authorities, can support AHBs to construct, purchase or lease housing units and make them available for social housing. The housing units are secured under long-term leases/availability arrangements between local authorities and AHBs, the cost of which is recouped to local authorities by my Department. The Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) funding is capital support provided to AHBs by local authorities to facilitate the funding of construction, acquisition or refurbishment of new social housing units, including units acquired through the establishment of the Housing Agency Acquisition Fund.

The capital advance is repayable by the AHB to the local authority at the end of a payment and availability agreement, usually 30 years. All proposals for CALF are submitted to my Department by AHBs for review, to ensure that each project complies with the terms of the CALF and that there are sufficient funds available.

To date, 26 AHBs have availed of CALF to secure homes for social housing use. Funding eligibility is aligned to those AHBs signed up to and demonstrating compliance with the Voluntary Regulation Code.

The CALF scheme delivers housing through close collaboration between AHBs and local authorities. This collaborative approach ensures that there is local authority support for the project prior to submission to my Department. Applications for funding for a scheme or individual homes, which have not progressed, may have fallen out of the process for various reasons and applications may also be resubmitted with revisions or by another AHB. Some 1,000 applications (with some 12,000 associated dwellings) for CALF have been made since 2011.

The CALF was introduced on 24 June 2011 and only a small number of AHBs availed of the facility during the period 2011 to 2013, delivering a total of 498 additional social housing homes under the scheme. Only over the last number of years has the sector moved to accessing private funding/ borrowing and moving away from full exchequer support. Since 2014, the number of homes delivered using CALF support has increased significantly year on year, along with Exchequer funding to support AHBs to access finance for the provision of new social housing. CALF expenditure in 2018 was €120.8 million; this included €2.18 million, which was offset against Local Property Tax funding, and 2,315 additional social housing homes were completed in 2018, as a result of CALF assistance. A provision of €94.4 million has been provided for the scheme in 2019.

At the end of Q4 2018, there were some 3,600 homes in the CALF acquisition and build pipeline, which will be delivered out to 2022. To date €220 million had been loaned by local authorities to AHBs and a further €231 million has been approved for lending but has not been drawn down.

Owing to the nature of the CALF scheme, home delivery does not always arise in the same year as expenditure being incurred. Schemes delivered under phased programmes may cross a number of payment periods.

Delivery under CALF since 2014 is set out in the following table:

Delivery Type

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

CALF Build

16

43

283

854

1,540

CALF Acquisition

(including Housing Agency Acquisitions since 2017)

303

331

283

403

775

Total

319

374

566

1,257

2,315

Details of the annual social housing output for each of the local authority areas, as well as the specific output under each of the funding programmes, are available on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

Housing Finance Agency

Questions (1386)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1386. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount issued by the Housing Finance Agency to approved housing bodies per annum from 2011 to date; the number of units constructed under such finance; the number of units leased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13003/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department requested the Housing Finance Agency to provide figures for the amount of funding issued by the Agency to approved housing bodies per annum from 2011 to date; and the number of units constructed under such finance. The information concerned is set out in the following table.

-

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 (YTD)

-

€ Million

€ Million

€ Million

€ Million

€ Million

€ Million

€ Million

€ Million

€ Million

Loans Advanced

8.75

14.21

13.15

33.97

126.29

171.00

283.16

70.94

Cumulative Loan Advanced

8.75

22.96

36.11

70.08

196.37

367.37

650.53

721.47

Units Advanced

66

150

160

356

866

1,145

1,513

240

Cumulative units Advanced

66

216

376

732

1,598

2,743

4,256

4,496

The units referred to in the table above include both construction and acquisition. It is important to note that unit delivery may not necessarily arise in the same year as funding advancement.

AHBs may also utilise the Capital Advance leasing Facility (CALF) in conjunction with a loan from the HFA. Dwellings constructed by AHBs using HFA finance are owned by AHBs and it is a condition of the funding that they are made available to local authorities for social housing using Payment and Availability Agreements (P&As).

With regard to leasing, in addition to the units which are supported through HFA funding outlined above, under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP), my Department supports AHBs to lease dwellings and make them available for social housing. These dwellings are secured under long-term leases between AHBs and private owners. They are then made available to local authorities for social housing using Payment and Availability Agreements (P&As), the cost of which is recouped to local authorities by my Department.

Output under AHB leasing since 2014 is set out in the following table.

-

AHB Leasing

2014

220

2015

523

2016

272

2017

492

2018

412

Home Loan Scheme

Question No. 1388 answered with Question No. 1363.

Questions (1387)

John Brady

Question:

1387. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if an applicant that has been approved for a mortgage under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan can receive an extension after the six-month period has lapsed to cover the duration of a new housing build; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13021/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is mortgage for first-time buyers and has been available nationwide through local authorities since 1 February 2018.

Under the scheme a letter of loan offer is valid for a period of 6 months from date of issue, subject to terms and conditions contained set out in the letter. However, the interest rate for the loan is determined by the date of draw down of the loan and this may change within the 6-month validity period.

Where a loan has been approved for building a new house, in accordance with normal practice the loan would be drawn down in tranches, depending on certain works, certified by an Architect, being completed. It would be expected that the applicant would be in a position to draw down the first tranche within the six month period. However further tranches may be drawn down after that period.

The local authorities are the statutory bodies responsible for approving and issuing mortgages under the scheme. Each authority has a credit committee, which is responsible for making the final decisions, within its area, regarding loan applications.

Question No. 1388 answered with Question No. 1363.

Planning Issues

Questions (1389)

Noel Grealish

Question:

1389. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the timetable for the application for planning under the IROPI process for Lough Talt, County Sligo (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13170/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

On 12 March 2019, I received a statement of case from Sligo County Council that Imperative Reasons for Overriding Public interest (IROPI) exist in respect of a planning application for the upgrade to the existing water treatment plant at Lough Talt, County Sligo. The statement of case submitted by Sligo County Council pursuant to Section 177AA of the Planning and Development Act 2000 relates to a planning application which was received by Sligo County Council on 28 May 2018 (Sligo County Council planning application details ref: 18210).

In accordance with Section 177AB of the Planning and Development Act 2000, I requested the views of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on 14 March 2019 in respect of this matter.

There is no specified timeframe under the relevant legislation for either Minister as part of the IROPI process, other than to carry out their respective functions as soon as possible. In this regard I cannot provide an indicative timeframe for the completion of this process at this time; however, the matter will be concluded without undue delay.