Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (84)

Jan O'Sullivan


84. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the actions he is taking to implement pillar 5 of the Rebuilding Ireland initiative relating to council-owned homes; if there is national monitoring of the amount of funding each council sets aside for housing maintenance including work undertaken on vacated homes in advance of re-letting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23684/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, responsive repairs and 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.

The challenges faced by local authorities in re-tenanting properties vary considerably, with some requiring minimal upgrade or redecoration, while others require very extensive and costly pre-letting works before they can be safely re-tenanted. The most appropriate manner in which lasting improvements can be made in this area, in line with the relevant objectives of Rebuilding Ireland, is to have a common approach based on best practice across the local government sector. 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). An element of this work involves identifying how the swift return of homes to the active social housing stock can be achieved most efficiently, while complying with the minimum standards for rented accommodation, which apply to local authority housing.

The CCMA group is also working with my Department on a sustainable funding approach for this work. In addition, local authority elected members can play an important role in this regard by allocating adequate resources to the maintenance of their housing stock in the budgetary process and by overseeing the performance of their respective local authorities in achieving timely re-lettings of social housing homes.