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Vacant Properties

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 November 2021

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Questions (59)

Pa Daly

Question:

59. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of vacant local authority owned properties in County Kerry; the funding set aside to upgrade these vacant properties in 2022; the target number of properties to be upgraded in 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54569/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

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 28 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 2009.

Notwithstanding this, my Department provides annual funding support to local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-let under the Voids Programme. This funding was introduced originally to tackle long term vacant units and is now increasingly targeted to support authorities to ensure minimal turnaround and re-let times for vacant stock. 

In 2021, Kerry County Council was allocated €1.56 million under the Voids Programme to remediate 78 vacant properties. My Department will continue to support the council in their work remediating vacant social housing properties. Details of the 2022 Voids Programme will be finalised in early 2022.

My Departments Energy Efficiency Programme also provides funding support to local authorities for retrofitting works which, can be carried out across all local authority properties. The budget for this programme increased substantially in 2021 to €65 million. Kerry County Council received an allocation of €1.38 million to upgrade 51 properties. Their allocation under the 2022 programme will be announced early next year. 

Local authorities will always have a level of vacancy in their housing stock. This will fluctuate over time, as tenancy surrender and re-letting of stock is an ongoing process. Therefore, ongoing data in relation to vacant local authority owned homes are not collated by my Department.

However, statistics in relation to social housing stock, at a point in time, are published by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) in their Annual Reports on Performance Indicators in Local Authorities. These reports provide a range of information in relation to social housing stock, including levels of vacancy in local authority owned properties. The most recent report, relating to 2020, is available on the NOAC website at the following link:

noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/NOAC-Local-Authority-Performance-Indicator-Report-2020.pdf

It is important to note that my Department and local authorities supported by the Local Government Management Association  are working to transition from a largely response and voids based approach to housing stock management and maintenance to a planned maintenance approach as referenced in Housing for All, policy objective 20.6. This will require the implementation of centrally hosted ICT system to support the completion of stock condition surveys by all local authorities and the subsequent development of strategic and informed work programmes which will be supported by my Department’s stock improvement funding programmes. It is envisaged surveys will commence early in 2022.

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