Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (345)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

345. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status the cost rental pilot project schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48089/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Acknowledging that renters in Dublin and other major urban centres are currently facing significant housing access and affordability challenges, the Government is committed to the introduction of a Cost Rental sector in Ireland. My Department is currently developing a national policy approach for this new form of rental tenure. This work includes the development of two pathfinder projects on local authority-owned sites, from which lessons will be drawn to inform an optimum model for Cost Rental delivery at the national level.

The first of these projects in Enniskerry Road, is currently under construction. Work on this development of 155 units began in July 2019.  It comprises 105 homes for social housing and 50 two bedroomed Cost Rental homes.  The Cost Rental units, which are scheduled for completion in 2021, will be offered for rental at €1,200 per month. Land for the development is being provided by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to help achieve these competitive rents, which represent a very significant reduction when compared with market rents in the Stepaside area. My Department is also providing €4.5 million is Serviced Sites Funding to support infrastructure costs associated with the development.  

The other pathfinder project is at Emmet Road in Inchicore, including the site of the former St Michael's Estate. Dublin City Council, the site owner, is continuing to make progress on the design and planning work for this project. DCC has appointed a dedicated project manager and a project team to move the project forward, and a development framework plan has recently been completed. It is projected that the site can accommodate 484 homes in a high-quality mixed tenure development, including 375 Cost Rental apartments. The remaining units will be provided for social housing. DCC is engaging with my Department according to the best practice guidelines set out in the Capital Works Management Framework, and is procuring an architect-led integrated design team which will be responsible for designing the scheme and taking it as far as the planning stage. I am determined that work will continue to progress at pace on this project and that lessons learned from the financial modelling for this location are applied more broadly.

In terms of the Cost Rental agenda more generally, the development of a national policy approach is being progressed by working group led by my Department and also involving the Land Development Agency, the Housing Agency, and other bodies. This will provide for a sustainable financing structure and allow us to commence the delivery of Cost Rental homes at scale. Detailed operational and eligibility criteria for Cost Rental will be informed by this evidence building and policy work. The work of the group will also be assisted by consultancy and research support which will be undertaken by the European Investment Bank on our behalf. The EIB has extensive international experience in affordable housing, and is providing technical assistance in assessing the potential market for Cost Rental in Ireland. The development of a national model for Cost Rental will be concluded well in advance of the completion of construction work on the homes at the first pathfinder site on Enniskerry Road.