In the context of their role in scrutinising performance of local authorities and supporting best practice, the National Oversight & Audit Commission (NOAC) reviews the social housing stock level in local authorities every year, including the number of vacant local authority houses at a particular point in time. NOAC’s activities in this regard are summarised in its Annual Performance Indicator Reports and the most recent data, including the number of vacant local authority houses, on a local authority basis are set out in the 2017 report which is available on the NOAC website, at the following link: http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NOAC-Performance-Indicators-Report-2017.pdf. The previous annual reports are also available on the NOAC website.
Local authorities own and manage some 130,000 social homes, with tenants moving in and out on a continuous basis. Accordingly, the number of social homes that are occupied or vacant at any given time changes continuously. The management and maintenance of their own housing stock, including dealing with tenancies starting or ending and re-letting properties, is a matter for each individual local authority, in line with Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966.
I am keen that local authorities focus on the day-to-day work involved with managing their housing stock, dealing with re-lets and with tenancy issues, rather than diverting staff to undertake a significant amount of repeated reporting on this activity, when the information concerned is related to local housing management activities. My Department has provided over €145 million of exchequer funding to local authorities from 2014 to 2018, to support their work in returning vacant social housing to use and we are continuing that support.
Given the direct responsibility of local authorities for managing their own housing stock, I am keen that elected Councils play a proactive role in supporting this work, both by overseeing performance in their individual local authorities and also, by making adequate budgetary provision for housing repairs and maintenance, utilising the housing rental income available to them.