Home Loan Scheme

Questions (1390)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

1390. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the delivery of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme by Sligo County Council in 2018 and to date in 2019; if the funding under the programme will be affected by the fact other councils have run out of funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13172/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, which provides credit worthy first time house buyers who cannot access sufficient mortgage finance form a commercial lender, has been available from local authorities since 1 February 2018.

The Housing Agency provides a central support service, which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications. Each local authority must have in place a credit committee and it is a matter for the committee to make the decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

The Housing Agency compile figures on the number of applications they have assessed and subsequently recommended to approve on a county-by-county basis. The most recent figures for Sligo County Council, as at the end of February 2019, indicate that the Housing Agency had assessed 44 applications for Sligo County Council since the scheme began, with 22 of these recommended for approval.

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. From this information, Sligo County Council confirmed to my Department that they had issued eight loans to end January 2019, totalling a value of €869,000.

In relation to the allocations of funding to individual local authorities under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan to individual local authorities, the final allocation assigned to Sligo County Council for mortgage and home improvement loans in 2018 was €3,375,000. This final allocation is reflective of an internal rebalancing exercise carried out by my Department in respect of the approved allocations notified to the local authorities based on estimated drawdowns for 2018 as notified by the authorities.

When the scheme was initially launched, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. The scheme has proven to be far more successful than originally anticipated, and the level of funding issued by local authorities to end January 2019 was approximately €106m, which is ahead of initial estimates for the scheme.

I am currently in discussions with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for the scheme. Specific allocations to local authorities for 2019 will be finalised when those discussions have concluded.

In the meantime, the scheme remains open and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Questions (1391)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1391. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the breakdown of the 18,000 HAP figure for new HAP tenancies by local authority in each of the years 2016 to 2018. [13176/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is a flexible and immediate housing support that is available to all eligible households throughout the State. It plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals.

At the end of Quarter 4, 2018, there were over 43,400 active tenancies being supported under the HAP scheme in 31 local authority areas.

Details on the number of tenancy setups from 2016 to 2018 are set out in the table below:

Year

Additional Households supported at year end

2016

12,075

2017

17,916

2018

17,926

A further breakdown of new HAP tenancy setups by local authority area in the years 2016 to 2018, is available on my Department's website at:

www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Question No. 1393 answered with Question No. 1357.

Questions (1392)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

1392. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the progress of the Shanganagh Castle social and affordable housing development; the position of the project within the four-stage approval process; if the NDFA review has been completed; if so, the outcome of the review; and his plans to include the project in the social housing construction pipeline funded through the SHIP funding stream. [13181/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Due to the scale and development potential of the site at Shanganagh, which may include approximately 540 homes overall, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) is required to carry out a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) financial modelling exercise under the Public Spending Code. An Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) is also required and several surveys/assessments/studies are currently underway which will inform the EIAR.

A Masterplan, including an Infrastructural Masterplan, is also required and an Integrated Design Team is making good progress on developing these plans. The development will require planning approval from An Bord Pleanála under Part X of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

In parallel with the Masterplan design, I am advised that DLRCC is also engaging with the Land Development Agency (LDA) to explore options for the affordable element, with the intention to submit a formal application to my Department under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF).

The Council intends to prepare a complete Stage 1 application for the social housing element of the scheme once planning is secured. All publicly-funded construction projects must comply with the Government’s Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) 2007. The objective of these structures is to ensure greater cost certainty, better value for money and financial accountability. The social housing construction schemes progressing through the 4-stage approval process are reviewed at each stage by my Department’s Social Housing Delivery team, including architectural and quantity surveyor advisors.

DLRCC is continuing to actively engage with all relevant parties to progress the development of this site, including with my Department, the Housing Agency, the Land Development Agency and the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).

Question No. 1393 answered with Question No. 1357.

Emergency Accommodation Data

Questions (1394)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

1394. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of households that exited emergency accommodation in each of the years 2016 to 2018; the number of homeless preventions in each of the years 2016 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13228/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. While responsibility for the provision of accommodation for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities, the administration of homeless services is organised on a regional basis.

My Department receives quarterly homelessness performance reports from the regional lead authorities. In terms of the information sought by the Deputy, the most relevant information available from those reports are the details provided in relation to the numbers of adults who exited homelessness into an independent tenancy, which are set out in the table below.

Exits to Independent Tenancy (No. of adults)

2016

2017

2018

3,079

4,729

5,135

My Department does not hold data on the number of preventions nationally.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (1395)

Joan Burton

Question:

1395. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to provide funding to ensure the continuation of services by an organisation (details supplied) in view of the fact that funding has previously been allocated for the work and projects of the organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13255/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department has no function in relation to the provision of funding for the purposes referred to in the Question.

Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility

Question No. 1397 answered with Question No. 1363.

Questions (1396)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1396. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the steps persons (details supplied) must take in June 2019 when they must leave the family home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13258/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Assessment for social housing is within the remit of the local authority involved and I have no role in relation to individual cases. In order to qualify for social housing support and be placed on a housing list, an applicant must be assessed by the authority concerned as meeting all of the eligibility and need criteria set down in the legislation. Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations.

The Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy. The 2011 Regulations do not provide local authorities with any discretion to exceed the limits that apply to their administrative areas.

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.

As part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports is underway. The Housing Agency is carrying out the detailed statistical work which will underpin this review on behalf of my Department. The review will obviously have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.

In terms of my role regarding housing policy, and recognising that there are people who do not qualify for social housing but find it very challenging to purchase or rent at market rates, the Government has brought in new measures specifically targeted at delivering more affordable homes.

Affordable housing is generally targeted at households earning a maximum gross income of €50,000 (single applicant) or €75,000 (joint applicant). Affordable homes to buy will be delivered under a new statutory Scheme; the relevant provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 were commenced last year and I recently signed regulations in respect of the making of a Scheme of Priority, which local authorities must do before 18 June 2019. Further regulations and detailed guidance will issue to local authorities in due course.

This new Scheme replaces all previous affordable purchase schemes; is led by housing authorities; is a shared equity scheme with a fully repayable equity share/discount; and the equity repayments will be pooled into a strategic affordable housing fund managed by the Housing Funding Agency (HFA).

The Scheme is complementary to other Government schemes which help first-time buyers to buy a home, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and the new Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan. The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was introduced from 1 February 2018, following a review of the two existing local authority home loan schemes, the House Purchase Loan and the Home Choice Loan. The new loan enables credit worthy first time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range. The low rate of fixed interest associated with the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan provides first time buyers with access to mortgage finance that they may not otherwise be able to afford at a higher interest rate.

Single applicants for the loan may earn up to €50,000 gross per annum, while the combined income of joint applicants may be up to €75,000 per annum. These income limits are unchanged from the previous local authority loan offerings. The maximum dual-income threshold also applies to the new Affordable Purchase Scheme which will enable a maximum purchase price of c. €320,000, which is in line with the purchase limits set out under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.

Full details of the loan’s eligibility criteria and other information are available from the dedicated Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website: http://rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie/. Subject to certain conditions, any person who meets the eligibility criteria may apply for a loan regardless of whether or not they are on the local authority housing list or qualified for social housing support.

Given the affordability challenge faced by renters, the Government is committed to the introduction of a not-for-profit, cost rental sector in Ireland. The experience gained from initial cost rental projects in Enniskerry and Inchicore is informing the national approach to cost rental delivery at scale. My Department is engaged with the Housing Agency, the National Development Finance Agency, the European Investment Bank and the Land Development Agency to develop the optimum funding, delivery and administrative frameworks.

Question No. 1397 answered with Question No. 1363.

Irish Water Administration

Questions (1398)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

1398. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to improve the quality of customer service to customers of Irish Water; his views on the present quality of customer service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13304/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Government's vision for water services is that they are delivered and developed in line with the needs and expectations of citizens and users; in compliance with legal obligations; in a fair and cost effective manner and in keeping with the principles of social, economic and environmental sustainability. The Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025 sets out the range of policy objectives across the key thematic areas of quality, conservation and future proofing to be pursued by Irish Water and others between now and 2025 in order to achieve this vision. The Policy Statement can be accessed on my Department's website at the following link: -

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

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels. The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides that responsibility for the independent economic regulation of the water sector is assigned to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) which is specifically tasked under the legislation with protecting the interests of customers.

An important aspect of the CRU’s work is ensuring that Irish Water’s revenue is spent appropriately to improve services for customers. To facilitate this, in November 2016 the CRU outlined a framework of 19 key performance metrics against which it would monitor Irish Water’s performance and progress over time. The metrics cover customer service, environmental performance, quality of service for water supply, security of water supply and sewerage service. Monitoring Irish Water’s performance relative to these metrics will facilitate an evaluation by the CRU of the utility’s performance. It also ensures that transparent data becomes available to customers through the publication of performance data.

The most recent Irish Water Performance Assessment Report published by the CRU in February 2018 is available at the following weblink - www.cru.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CRU18034-Irish-Water-Performance-Assessment-Report-No.-2-February-2018.pdf .

I understand that the CRU plans to publish a further Performance Assessment Report later this year.

The Water Services Act 2017 has strengthened the arrangement in place for stakeholder engagement, accountability and transparency in relation to the provision of water services. The Water Advisory Body has been placed on a statutory footing and empowered to advise the Minister on the measures needed to improve the transparency and accountability of Irish Water for the purpose of increasing the confidence of members of the public in Irish Water and to report to an Oireachtas Committee on a quarterly basis on the performance of Irish Water in the implementation of its business plan. The Act also established An Forám Uisce to provide a platform for public engagement on all matters relating to water as an environmental, social and economic resource.

Based on the above, I am confident that appropriate arrangements are in place for the delivery of water services and the development of the Water Sector in line with the needs and expectations of customers and users.

It may also be helpful to note that Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email at oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Questions (1399)

Jack Chambers

Question:

1399. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if affordable home purchasing initiatives will be introduced that will not be limited to first-time buyers only; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13327/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The new affordable purchase housing scheme is targeted at providing support towards low to middle income first time buyers. Prioritising geographical areas for operation of the scheme is informed by economic assessments which local authorities have completed in relation to the affordability issues in their areas. Significant housing delivery is to be supported using the Serviced Site Fund (SSF) which will utilise a budget of €310 million to provide site infrastructure support to help make available approximately 6,200 affordable homes over the next three years. An initial 10 projects have been approved for €43m of funding under the first call for proposals under the SSF. It is intended that a second call will issue next month and the first homes are expected to be delivered next year.

Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides the statutory basis for the delivery of the affordable housing scheme. Whilst the purpose of the scheme is to primarily target support at first time buyers facing housing affordability challenges, Section 84 (4) of the Act 2009 allows for an exemption that a person must be a first time buyer. It provides that those who are separated, divorced or whose marriage has been annulled would be able to make an application for an affordable purchase home, subject to certain conditions. These include that the person concerned has not retained an interest in their previous family home, or that they are not beneficially entitled to an interest in a dwelling other than their previous family home.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding

Questions (1400)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

1400. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on community sewerage schemes; the reason rural towns that want to establish a community sewerage scheme have been told by councils and his Department that funding will only be made available to extend existing Irish Water sewerage schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13346/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Details of the measures being funded under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019 to 2021 were notified to local authorities by my Department on 8 February 2019. This included a funding measure to support community connections to the public network operated by Irish Water. The composition of the new multi-annual programme is based on recommendations from the Working Group that I established in April 2018 to conduct a review of investment needs and rural water services. The Working Group, which is chaired by my Department, includes the National Federation of Group Water Schemes, Environmental Protection Agency, Health Service Executive, Department of Rural and Community Development and local authorities, through the County and City Management Association. It has also consulted with other key stakeholders, including Irish Water.

There is a two-strand approach to the considerations of the Working Group. Strand 1 addressed the composition and distribution of funding for the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021, while Strand 2 is considering the more complex longer-focus issues surrounding the long-term future resourcing of the rural water sector.

Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, which took into account the lessons learnt in the first multi-annual funding cycle 2016-2018 as well as the ongoing developments in the wider water services sector, I approved the multi-annual programme for the 2019-2021 cycle. The 2019-2021 funding cycle consists of eight measures. Most are further broken into sub-measures. These measures reflect the key challenges currently facing the rural water sector.

Measure 6, Community Connections (Water and Wastewater), facilitates the continued expansion of the coverage of piped water supplies and central wastewater collection systems by extension off the public network. It includes a sub-measure, Community Connection: Wastewater Network. This sub-measure will support wastewater collection for population clusters, currently on deficient individual wastewater treatment systems (septic tanks), immediately adjacent to towns and villages, through the development of community wastewater connection networks as extensions to the existing public (Irish Water) wastewater collection system.

There is significant cost involved in delivering, and particular professional skills needed to operate, a sewerage scheme. The operation by community-based groups of their own sewage treatment facilities, which are technically more complex than group water treatment facilities, has not been included under the Rural Water Programme. This is because of the difficulties for voluntary groups in managing and maintaining such facilities in the long term. The relevant sub-measure under the Programme is therefore designed with this in mind.

Strand 2 of the considerations by the Working Group is currently underway and I expect a further report later in 2019. The long-term needs of rural towns and villages in respect of wastewater infrastructure is something that I expect the Working Group will be examining in this phase of its work.

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels. I understand that Irish Water will be bringing forward proposals for a Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme which will support a number of the National Policy Objectives and National Strategic Outcomes under the National Planning Framework. The Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme is intended to provide water and wastewater growth capacity in smaller settlements which would not otherwise be provided for in Irish Water’s Investment Plan. Irish Water will work with local authorities across the country in ensuring the investment is made where it is needed most, aligned to local authority core strategies.

Irish Water is subject to regulation by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). The proposals from Irish Water in this regard form part of the submissions from Irish Water to the CRU on its detailed investment plans under the Irish Water Investment Plan 2020 to 2024. These submissions are currently being considered by the CRU and a decision is expected from the CRU in the second half of 2019.

Vacant Sites Data

Questions (1401, 1402)

Mick Wallace

Question:

1401. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of vacant site levy implementation progress reports received from local authorities to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13376/19]

View answer

Mick Wallace

Question:

1402. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of sites on vacant site registers; the number of local authorities that have not listed sites on their vacant site register; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13377/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1401 and 1402 together.

Under the vacant site levy provisions in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, planning authorities are empowered to apply a vacant site levy of 3% of the market value of relevant vacant sites with effect from January 2019 where a site exceeds 0.05 hectares in area, was in the planning authority’s opinion vacant or idle in 2018, and is in an area identified by the planning authority in its development plan or local area plan for residential or regeneration development. The rate of the levy has been increased to 7% of the market value for sites listed on a local authority vacant sites register from 2019 onwards, to be applied from January 2020.

My Department does not maintain a central register of vacant sites, as each local authority administers the vacant site register in respect of their functional area. As provided for under the Act, the register in respect of each local authority is available for inspection at its offices and online on its website.

However, on foot of a recent review of the on-line vacant site registers across all local authority areas, I understand that while 10 local authorities have yet to populate their registers, 21 authority have and there are collectively over 360 individual sites currently on the local registers. Over 120 of these sites were entered on the local vacant site registers on 1 January 2018 and will therefore be subject to the levy in 2019, unless development works were activated in the interim.

My Department will continue to monitor implementation of the levy to ensure that it is being effectively applied, in line with its intended purpose of incentivising the development of vacant or under-utilised sites in urban areas. To support this work, levy implementation progress reports were requested from local authorities. All local authorities have submitted responses to this request which are currently being examined by my Department with a view to determining what, if any, further implementation supports may be required.

Fire Safety Regulations

Questions (1403)

Seán Haughey

Question:

1403. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will establish a fund to assist owners of apartments dealing with serious fire safety issues and building defects; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that problems have emerged in respect of a number of apartment schemes on the north fringe of the Dublin City Council administrative area; the measures taken to improve the building regulations in respect apartment developments; if action will be taken to hold developers accountable for defective complexes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13378/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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. 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.

Local authorities have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003, the Housing Acts and the Planning and Development Acts, all of which may be relevant where fire safety concerns arise in residential developments. Fire services may inspect buildings in cases of defects or complaints in respect of fire safety. They work with building owners to ensure immediate risks are addressed, and a plan put in place for works to bring buildings into compliance. They have enforcement powers for cases where co-operation is not forthcoming, or progress cannot be made on an agreed basis. Local authorities are independent in the use of their statutory powers.

In the interest of supporting owners and residents living in developments where concerns regarding non-compliance with fire safety requirements arise, it was agreed that a review be undertaken by an independent fire expert to develop a framework for general application. In August 2017, the Framework for Enhancing Fire Safety in Dwellings was published, which is intended to be used as a guide by the owners and occupants of dwellings where fire safety deficiencies have been identified, or are a cause for concern. The Framework will also be of assistance to professional advisors, both in developing strategies to improve fire safety and in developing strategies to enable continued occupation in advance of undertaking the necessary works to ensure compliance with the relevant Building Regulations. The Framework is available on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/framework_for_enhancing_fire_safety_in_dwellings.pdf.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, and in recognition of fears expressed for fire safety, my Department's National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management was asked to convene a Task Force to lead a re-appraisal of our approach to fire safety in Ireland. In its report, the Task Force acknowledges the importance of fire safety in apartment buildings and makes a number of recommendations in this regard and I have tasked the Directorate's Management Board with implementation of the recommendations within its remit, and oversight of the implementation of other recommendations. The Task Force Report is available on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/fire_safety_in_ireland_-_report_of_the_fire_safety_task_force.pdf.

In addition, in relation to the Building Regulations, work has been on-going to review Part B – Fire Safety and a new Part B/ TGD B Volume 2 (2017) came into force on 1 July 2017. This Volume 2 applies to dwellings only. A revised Volume 1, dealing with buildings other than dwellings, which includes apartments, is being prepared for public consultation.

Finally, in response to the building failures that have emerged over the last decade, my Department has advanced a robust and focused Building Control Reform Agenda, including:

- Amendments to the Building Control Regulations;

- Establishment of a shared services National Building Control Management Project; and

- The ongoing development of new legislation through the Building Control (Construction Industry Register Ireland) Bill.

These reforms 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.

Traveller Accommodation

Questions (1404)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

1404. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the quarterly social housing construction pipeline report will include Traveller-specific accommodation from the next report; and when the report will be published. [13442/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department publishes a quarterly Social Housing Construction Status Report, which provides information on the status of many of the various social housing new build projects underway nationally. The report includes details of schemes being progressed by the local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.

A dedicated budget is in place to fund the delivery of Traveller-specific accommodation, based on the requirements identified in the local Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs). The funding supports the delivery of various types of accommodation including group housing, halting sites and the refurbishment of existing units.

In line with the commitment in Rebuilding Ireland, and reflecting the disappointing level of overall funding drawdown in recent years, in 2017 the Housing Agency commissioned a review of funding for Traveller-specific accommodation to date. This review had regard to targets contained in local authority TAPs and actual delivery, the current status of accommodation funded and funding provided for accommodation maintenance and other supports. Following its consideration of the review, the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee recommended that an Independent Expert Group be established to examine and make recommendations on issues regarding Traveller accommodation policy, strategy and implementation. The work of this Expert Group is now underway with a report from the Group expected in April 2019.

In the context of this work, my Department will also review the reporting arrangements on the delivery of Traveller-specific accommodation.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (1405, 1406, 1407)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

1405. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the waiting times for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in the Cork County Council area by three, six, nine and 12 months, respectively, from the application being accepted to approval. [13510/19]

View answer

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

1406. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the waiting times for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in the Cork City Council area by three, six, nine and 12 months, respectively, from the application being accepted to approval. [13511/19]

View answer

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

1407. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the waiting times for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in the Louth County Council area by three, six, nine and 12 months, respectively, from the application being accepted to approval. [13512/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1405 to 1407, inclusive, together.

In accordance with the Regulations establishing the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, 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.

As such, my Department does not routinely collect the information referred to by the Deputy. However, towards the end of last year, for the purposes of a review of the operation of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme that has been undertaken by my Department, a request was made to a number of local authorities for information regarding processing times for loan applications.

Based on the information from those local authorities, and from the Housing Agency with regard to its assessment of applications, it is estimated the average time taken to process applications last year was seven weeks. This is in line with the expected timeframe of 6-8 weeks as set out on the RIHL website.

Home Loan Scheme

Question No. 1410 answered with Question No. 1363.

Questions (1408, 1409)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

1408. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications to Cork County Council for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in each month from January 2018 to January 2019, in tabular form. [13514/19]

View answer

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

1409. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications to Cork City Council for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in each month from January 2018 to January 2019, in tabular form. [13515/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1408 and 1409 together.

My Department does not collect data in relation to the numbers of applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan (RIHL) that are currently with local authorities. Data is collected by my Department on a quarterly basis from local authorities with regard to the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Information up to Q3 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, and this information is updated on a quarterly basis as additional data is compiled.

The Housing Agency provides a central support service, which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of the local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications.

Last year, I asked the Agency to compile figures on its processing of applications, which includes the number of applications they have assessed and subsequently recommended to approve for individual local authorities on a month-by-month basis. These were available from September 2018 onwards, with the most recent data available as of the end of February 2019.

The relevant data for Cork City and County Councils are set out in the following tables:

Cork City Council

Month

Applications Assessed (Cumulative)

Applications Recommended to Approve (Cumulative)

September

77

37

October

87

43

November

101

51

December

101

53

January

112

56

February

125

63

Cork County Council

Month

Applications Assessed (Cumulative)

Applications Recommended to Approve (Cumulative)

September

169

93

October

196

104

November

222

118

December

222

133

January

262

145

February

282

159

Question No. 1410 answered with Question No. 1363.