Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (249, 250)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

249. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the vacant homes strategy; the number of vacant homes that have been registered since the start of the strategy; the number that have been refurbished; the number that have been put back in circulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7853/21]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

250. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the vacant homes strategy; the number of vacant homes that have been registered in each county since the start of the strategy; the number have been refurbished in each county; the number that have been put back in circulation in each county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7854/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 249 and 250 together.

The National Vacant Housing Reuse Strategy was published in July 2018, it provides a targeted, effective and coordinated approach to identifying and tackling vacancy across Ireland. The range of objectives and actions it specifies have been pursued in partnership with stakeholders and agencies across the housing sector to address vacancy in our housing stock. The key drivers of these actions are: local authorities, the Housing Agency, and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), supported by schemes available within my Department specifically designed to tackle vacancy, such as the Repair and Lease Scheme, the Buy and Renew Scheme and the Long Term Leasing Scheme.

- The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) is targeted at owners of vacant properties who cannot afford or access the funding needed to bring their properties up to the required standard for rental properties. The scheme provides upfront funding to carry out the works and, in return, the property owner agrees to lease the dwelling to the local authority to be used as social housing for a period up to 25 years. The maximum loan for property repair available under the Repair and Leases scheme has been increased by my Department from €40,000 to €60,000. The number of dwellings delivered under the Repair & Lease scheme from July 2018 to end Q3 2020 is 167 dwellings.

- The Buy and Renew initiative allows local authorities to purchase private vacant properties for use as social housing. The number of units purchased by local authorities under the Buy and Renew scheme from July 2018 to end of 2020 was 419 units.

- The Housing Acquisitions Fund is a €70 million revolving that was established in January 2017 with the objective of enabling the Housing Agency to acquire vacant units from banks and investment companies for social housing use. The fund is replenished by the Housing Agency through the sale of units primarily to the AHB sector and the funds received are then recycled back into the fund for future acquisitions. Since July 2018, a total of 436 properties had been purchased by the Housing Agency using the Fund and placed on caretaker leases with AHBs.

Table 1 below gives a breakdown of the number of properties delivered under each of the schemes in each local authority.

Table 1

Local Authority

Repair and Lease Dwellings Delivered Q3 2018 - Q3 2020

Buy and Renew Dwellings DeliveredQ3 2018 – Q4 2020

Housing Agency Acquisitions Dwellings Delivered Q3 2018 to Q4 2020

TOTAL

Carlow

2

24

6

32

Cavan

-

1

2

3

Clare

-

14

3

17

Cork City

1

40

5

46

Cork County

3

33

52

88

Donegal

-

1

3

4

Dublin City

2

50

81

133

Dún Laoghaire

-

1

11

12

Fingal

27

19

22

68

Galway City

-

1

13

14

Galway County

1

-

5

6

Kerry

3

18

6

27

Kildare

1

6

36

43

Kilkenny

1

6

7

14

Laois

1

18

14

33

Leitrim

-

6

2

8

Limerick

12

42

17

71

Longford

6

11

5

22

Louth

1

54

5

60

Mayo

10

2

4

16

Meath

-

29

17

46

Monaghan

5

1

-

6

Offaly

-

1

7

8

Roscommon

3

1

2

6

Sligo

-

1

3

4

South Dublin

-

-

33

33

Tipperary

1

18

36

55

Waterford

76

9

12

97

Westmeath

1

3

8

12

Wexford

10

9

9

28

Wicklow

-

-

10

10

Total

167

419

436

1022

As emphasised in the Strategy, securing improved data and analysis on vacancy allows for more robust monitoring of vacancy at a national level and improved outputs at local level. To help record levels of vacancy, a website has been developed by Mayo County Council (vacanthomes.ie) on behalf of the local government sector. This provides a central portal for individuals to anonymously log possible vacant properties and alert local authorities who can then follow up with the owners to see whether the house can be re-used quickly.

The latest statistics from vacanthomes.ie indicate that 2,881 properties have been recorded on the website since the Strategy was published.

Table 2 below gives a breakdown of the properties recorded in each local authority.

Table 2

-

Number of Properties recorded on vacanthome.ie website

Leinster

Louth

92

Meath

68

Westmeath

38

Longford

24

Offaly

86

Kildare

141

Dublin City Council

212

South Dublin County Council

106

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown

104

Fingal

57

Wicklow

41

Carlow

23

Kilkenny

58

Wexford

60

Laois

44

Total

1154

Munster

Clare

131

Cork City

92

Cork County

407

Kerry

18

Limerick City

40

Limerick County

105

Tipperary

65

Waterford City

33

Waterford County

65

Total

956

Ulster

Cavan

278

Monaghan

3

Donegal

49

Total

330

Connacht

Mayo

142

Galway City

100

Galway County

80

Sligo

29

Roscommon

60

Leitrim

30

Total

441

Total

2881