The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, responsive repairs and implementing planned maintenance programmes, is a matter for each individual local authority, in line with Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. Local authorities return vacant properties to use through their own resources but my Department also continues to provide exchequer support to local authorities under the voids programme to support the timely re-tenanting of social homes that become vacant and require significant investment prior to re-letting. Indeed, in 2018 over €26 million was provided to local authorities for this purpose.
The challenges faced by local authorities in re-tenanting properties vary considerably, with some requiring minimal upgrade or re-decoration, while others require very extensive and costly pre-letting works before they can be safely re-tenanted. I believe the best way in which improvements can be made in this area is for local authorities to have a common approach to this work, based on established best practice. In that regard, a group representing a number of local authorities is working to identify best practice in relation to housing stock maintenance and repairs, within the structure of the City and County Management Association (CCMA).
In addition to building on the expertise and best practice that already exists in the local authorities, Councillors can also play an important role in this area, overseeing the performance of their respective local authorities in achieving timely re-lettings of social housing homes.