Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (68, 96)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

68. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when he will announce the specifics of a new affordable rental scheme. [38315/20]

View answer

Brian Stanley

Question:

96. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to roll out cost-rental housing projects in various regions of the country. [38268/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

This Government is committed to ensuring that affordable, quality housing solutions are available to everyone in Irish society, and this is reflected in the Programme for Government “Our Shared Future”. The Programme commits to putting affordability at the heart of the housing system through the progression of State-backed affordable housing, including the development of a Cost Rental model.

Cost Rental is housing where the rents cover only the costs of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes. It represents a new form of rental tenure for Ireland.

Cost Rental is intended to complement social housing in building mixed, sustainable communities. Work to outline the consistent and sustainable delivery of Cost Rental at scale has been undertaken through an inter-departmental multi-agency Cost Rental Working Group. It is also being assisted by an external research project sponsored by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on behalf of my Department.

In Budget 2021 some €35m was allocated to the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) to support Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to deliver approximately 350 Cost Rental homes next year. The CREL will leverage the proven expertise and capacity of the AHBs, demonstrated in their development and management of social housing units. Added to the 50 Cost Rental homes that will be delivered in Enniskerry Road, Stepaside in Q3 2021, this scheme will accelerate delivery in this new sector. This is in advance of the Land Development Agency's planned future output and the delivery of local authority Cost Rental homes.

The initial Cost Rental pilot projects currently under development are located in densely populated urban centres where rental affordability pressures are particularly acute and where State resources can have the biggest impact in assisting people who are paying highest rents.

It is envisaged that these homes, supported by Government investment, will be made available to applicants who meet defined eligibility criteria. The precise eligibility conditions are currently being developed in light of the on-going policy analysis outlined. Any Cost Rental conditionality will be set in advance of the completion of the first projects, and any necessary legislative provisions to underpin the sector will be incorporated in a forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill.