Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (318, 320)

Steven Matthews

Question:

318. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the level of funding remaining to bring further social housing voids back into the housing stock following the announcement at the end of January 2021 on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6765/21]

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Steven Matthews

Question:

320. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the position regarding the number of remaining voids reported by Wicklow County Council that have not been returned to the public housing stock to date; and if the local authority has estimated the approximate cost for returning these remaining units. [6781/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 318 and 320 together.

The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, the implementation of a planned maintenance programme and carrying out of responsive repairs, are matters for each individual local authority under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. Since 2014, Exchequer funding has also been provided through my Department's Voids Programme to support local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-letting. This funding was introduced originally to tackle long term vacant units and is now more targeted at supporting local authorities to ensure minimal turnaround and re-let times for their vacant stock.

In relation to Wicklow County Council, the local authority recouped €1.314 million of funding in 2020, significantly more than in any previous year. This supported refurbishment works on 110 units.

My Department will continue to support local authorities in their work in this area. As in previous years, Wicklow County Council, along with all local authorities will be asked to make a funding application under the 2021 programme in respect of their vacant stock and funding allocations will issue to all local authorities.

It is also important that local authorities increasingly move toward a preventative maintenance approach to the management of their housing stock and my Department is working with local authorities to this end.