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Tuesday, 14 Dec 2021

Written Answers Nos. 314-330

Defective Building Materials

Questions (314)

Violet-Anne Wynne

Question:

314. Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the decisions made at the recent meeting with Clare County Council in relation to the eligibility of homeowners in County Clare in the defective block redress scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61637/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department sought clarification from the Deputy’s office regarding the meeting referred to in the Question and the response received stated it referred to a meeting on 19 November between a representative from my Department and Clare County Council officials. Neither I nor my Department are aware of this meeting.

I can confirm however that officials from my Department did meet with officials from Clare County Council on 9 November. At this meeting the clarifications required by my Department in relation to the submission from Clare County Council were outlined. Clare County Council undertook to review their submission in light of the discussion which took place and address the gaps in the evidential data which my officials have identified.

My Department is eager to progress this matter and, to that end, issued a correspondence to Clare County Council on 6 December 2021 outlining in writing the full details of the clarifications sought.

On receipt by my Department of the necessary clarifications I am confident that progress can be made on the requested extension of the scheme to County Clare.

Housing Schemes

Questions (315)

Mick Barry

Question:

315. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the expected date for the launch of the affordable purchase shared equity scheme; when further details of the scheme will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61714/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The provisions of the Affordable Housing Act 2021 establish the basis for 4 new affordable housing measures. These measures will deliver on the Programme for Government commitment to put affordability at the heart of the housing system and prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes through:

- delivering affordable homes for purchase on local authority lands;

- the introduction of a new form of tenure in Cost Rental;

- a new affordable purchase ‘First Home’ shared equity scheme; and

- expanding Part V planning requirements to increase the 10% contribution requirement to 20% and to apply it to cost rental as well as social and affordable housing.

First Home is one of the measures in Housing for All that will help deliver 54,000 new affordable homes up to 2030, 36,000 of which will be for affordable purchase, and 18,000 of which will be for cost rental.

First Home will support hard pressed first-time buyers to purchase new homes in private developments, will also help address viability concerns, and stimulate an increase in supply to meet increased demand.

The support available under First Home will help bridge the gap for eligible purchasers between the deposit and mortgage available to them, and the sale price of the home they wish to buy. The scheme will allow people paying high rents to instead use their income to pay down a mortgage and own their own home.

Under the scheme, new homes made available nationally to first-time buyers will be subject to regional price ceilings linked to the median price of new build homes. It is anticipated that the scheme will support in the region of 8,000 households over the years 2022 to 2026.

Work on the detailed design and operation of the scheme is ongoing. The full scheme details will be confirmed on completion of this work. A new entity which will operate First Home is currently being established, and it is intended that further stakeholder and public engagement will be undertaken in preparation for deployment of the scheme in Q2 2022.

Planning Issues

Questions (316)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

316. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the legal costs pertaining to his Department and An Bord Pleanála and their related agencies in respect of all legal services provided in all appeal and judicial review applications instituted against his Department or An Bord Pleanála by case in each of the years since January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61741/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy in accordance with Standing Orders.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (317)

Seán Haughey

Question:

317. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will extend the targeted commercial rates waiver scheme to other targeted businesses, including hospitality reliant businesses such as dry cleaning, which have been more severely impacted than the businesses currently included in the waiver scheme; if he will consider the fact that these hospitality reliant businesses have been devastated in a downturn in the hospitality sector due to wedding and restaurant cancellations and to the prevalence of online meetings and the practice of working from home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61746/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Government recouped €729m to local authorities to fund the cost of a rates waiver in 2020. This meant that for eligible businesses their commercial rates were funded by Government for nine months of 2020. €480m was allocated by Government to fund the cost of the nine month waiver this year. These are unprecedented measures, which offered support to businesses and financial certainty to local authorities.

The Government, in Budget 2022, announced a more targeted commercial rates waiver for Q4 2021 to cover the hospitality and tourism sectors and €62.3m was allocated by Government for this purpose. On 3 December an extension of the current targeted waiver covering the hospitality and tourism sectors was announced. These waivers are intended to assist specific sectors as they continue to be severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions beyond September 2021 and need support to get back up and running.

Local authorities levy rates on property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Acts 2001 to 2015. Valuation lists identify categories of commercial property. Because of this, commercial rates and consequently eligibility for the rates waiver schemes, are based on property categories. Eligibility for the Q4 waiver is mainly based on hospitality and tourism property categories.

Government has the challenge of balancing competing demands for finite resources. The Q4 2001 and Q1 2002 targeted rates waivers are separate, standalone schemes and in recognition of the resources available, many businesses that benefited from previous waivers are no longer eligible. As with all public health measures and associated supports, the waiver of commercial rates will be kept under review. However, there are no current plans to extend the scope of the commercial rates waiver.

Planning Issues

Questions (318)

Ivana Bacik

Question:

318. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if there are plans to amend planning laws to address the planting of non-native leylandii in urban areas. [61867/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Planning legislation places no specific restrictions on the species or height of trees or hedges, nor does it make any particular provision for remedy from any other nuisance which may be caused by trees in an urban residential area. However, a civil remedy is available through the Courts concerning branches or roots of neighbouring trees encroaching on a person’s property.

The possibility of providing a broader civil law remedy for parties affected by high trees and hedges on adjoining properties was raised previously with the Minister for Justice. In this regard, advice was sought on the possibility of legislative provision being made, whereby a person substantially deprived of the enjoyment of their property, such as the deprivation of light caused by high trees on a neighbouring property, could apply to the Courts for an order, and that the Courts could make an order as they see fit, for example, to cut the trees back to an appropriate height. Safety considerations relating to overhanging trees could also potentially be addressed in any such provisions.

In response, the Minister for Justice suggested that disputes of this nature between neighbours could perhaps be more appropriately dealt with through mediation, which is being increasingly used internationally as a tool for the resolution of civil disputes, rather than through the Courts. Legislation subsequently introduced by the Minister for Justice has been enacted as the Mediation Act 2017 (the Act).

The Act, which came into operation on 1 January 2018, contains provisions to underpin a comprehensive statutory framework to promote the resolution of disputes through mediation as an alternative to court proceedings which should ideally be only used as a last resort. In essence, the underlying objective of the Act is to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings, thereby reducing legal costs, speeding up the resolution of disputes and reducing the stress and acrimony which often accompanies court proceedings, including those involving adjoining property owners.

In relation to dangerous trees, section 70 of the Roads Act 1993 - which is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Transport – provides that, where a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation is a hazard or potential hazard to persons using a public road or where it obstructs or interferes with the safe use of a public road or with the maintenance of a public road, a road authority may serve a notice in writing on the owner or occupier of the land on which such tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation is situated, requiring the preservation, felling, cutting, lopping, trimming or removal of such tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation within the period stated in the notice.

I also understand that under Section 58 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002 – which comes under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications - an electronic communications network operator or any person authorised by the operator may lop or cut any tree, shrub or hedge which obstructs or interferes with any physical infrastructure of the network operator.

With regard to tall and dangerous trees on local authority property, local authorities - as with all landowners - are responsible for the safety and maintenance of trees on their land.

Housing Provision

Questions (319)

Denis Naughten

Question:

319. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the total spend by his Department, by approved housing bodies and by each of the local authorities on the construction of new housing in 2018, 2019 and 2020; the share of that spend that is attributable to labour costs; the average spend per unit of housing in the same period; the share of that spend that is attributable to labour costs in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61874/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department publishes comprehensive programme level statistics on social housing delivery activity on a quarterly basis. Details on the number of social housing units provided by local authorities is published on the statistics page of my Department’s website, at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/publication/6d316-local-authority-housing-scheme-statistics/?referrer; www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/local-authority-housing-scheme-statistics.

Cost information on the delivery of social homes through the various construction streams, is collated by my Department at development level rather than at individual housing unit level. Disaggregating such development level information into individual unit costs, across all of the various types of units, would require significant analysis on unit characteristics such as size, type, number of bedrooms, site costs, abnormal costs, fees, etc. to derive an accurate reflection of unit cost.

In October 2020, the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, published an ‘Analysis of Social Housing Build Programme’ which examined the social housing build programme over the years 2016 to 2019 and considered issues such as Use of Build Delivery; Type of Units, Cost & Speed of Delivery and Cost Efficiency and Market Interaction. The IGEES analysis noted the range of average costs which highlighted the diversity of costs for delivery of new build units across different developments and locations. The paper is available at the following link: www.assets.gov.ie/94919/88a04762-9b47-45ba-a24c-e09f271234b9.pdf.

My Department provides funding to local authorities as projects and schemes are progressed and as relevant claims fall due for recoupment.

In respect of Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), the funding is provided by my Department directly to local authorities, who, in turn, advance the funding to the AHBs, as appropriate.

Details of housing expenditure under the housing build delivery stream for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020, by each individual local authority is set out in the table below, and includes the funding provided in respect of AHB delivery.

Local Authority

2018 €m

2019 €m

2020 €m

Carlow

6.03

14.71

10.11

Cavan

3.02

4.22

6.32

Clare

3.67

11.98

14.23

Cork City

42.31

55.43

80.52

Cork County

53.99

65.54

70.46

Donegal

10.36

9.86

17.28

Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown

25.89

10.20

29.88

Dublin City

152.97

100.80

132.11

Fingal

61.06

58.59

54.01

Galway City

11.23

21.96

30.94

Galway County

12.33

15.95

35.47

Kerry

19.96

22.32

36.79

Kildare

27.83

59.18

60.09

Kilkenny

18.72

12.66

21.79

Laois

1.87

6.06

10.73

Leitrim

1.46

3.21

5.78

Limerick

50.21

40.20

48.54

Longford

9.40

15.56

8.42

Louth

12.57

28.01

65.86

Mayo

6.62

19.38

15.79

Meath

38.58

42.68

57.24

Monaghan

8.64

12.32

16.49

Offaly

3.42

12.82

7.15

Roscommon

1.62

4.06

5.36

Sligo

10.10

12.76

10.52

South Dublin

67.53

52.51

32.74

Tipperary

4.27

13.57

22.90

Waterford

29.39

27.41

20.41

Westmeath

6.37

10.28

10.09

Wexford

15.63

21.79

19.88

Wicklow

24.19

42.91

69.97

Total

741.24

828.93

1,027.87

Departmental Data

Questions (320)

Denis Naughten

Question:

320. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the total spend by his Department, by approved housing bodies and by each of the local authorities on the retrofitting and renovation of social housing in 2018, 2019 and 2020; and the share of that total spend that is attributable to labour costs; the average spend per unit of housing in each of the years 2018, 2019 and 2020; the share of that spend that is attributable to labour costs in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61875/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department launched the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme in 2013 with the aim of funding retrofit of social homes requiring insulation and energy upgrade works. Since the programme commenced in 2013 over 73,500 units of social housing stock have been retrofitted with a total exchequer spend of €161 million under the scheme. Homes owned by Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are not part of the local authority owned housing stock and therefore are not eligible to apply for funding under a budget dedicated to the retrofit of local authority owned homes.

The Energy Efficiency Programme has been revised in 2021 with an increased Budget of €65 million, to include the Midlands Retrofit Programme, and focuses on ensuring that the fabric of the home is upgraded and an energy efficient heating system is provided. This revised programme will see a significant upscaling to ‘deeper retrofit’ on what has been completed by local authorities in previous years and will target 2,400 social homes for upgrade works in 2021, 750 of which relate to the Midlands Retrofit Pilot.

Under the new programme costs on individual homes could vary from €13,000 to €45,000. The final cost on a home will depend on its pre-works building standard and energy performance. It is a matter for each local authority to choose which properties to select for retrofitting from the allocation notified to them by my Department.

An annualised breakdown of the units retrofitted under the Energy Efficiency Retrofit programme for the years 2013-2020, is available on my Department's website at the following link. Details in respect of labour costs attributed to the Programme are not captured. www.gov.ie/en/publication/668c1-energy-efficiency-retrofitting-programme-expenditure-output/.

Housing Provision

Question No. 322 answered with Question No. 321.

Questions (321, 322)

Denis Naughten

Question:

321. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of housing projects for which each of the local authorities and approved housing bodies availed of support services on procurement from the Housing Agency projects and procurement department in 2018, 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61877/21]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

322. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the way the Housing Agency projects and procurement department approaches advising local authorities and approved housing bodies on questions of labour availability and the associated cost as part of the procurement process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61878/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 321 and 322 together.

The Housing Agency is a non-commercial State agency under the aegis of my Department. The Housing Agency’s Projects, Procurement and Programmes (PPP) Team supports local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in housing delivery through the provision of specialist advice in a range of areas, including design, regulatory compliance, project development and procurement. My Department does not hold details on the number of housing projects for which each local authority or AHB availed of support services or the details of these supports from the Housing Agency. However, further information may be available directly from the Housing Agency.

A key theme of Housing for All is to build local authority and AHB capacity to cater for increased output levels and complexities of development and delivery processes. Under Housing for All, the Housing Agency’s PPP team will be expanded to support local authority and AHB delivery and my Department is working with the Agency to identify the additional resource requirements in this regard.

Question No. 322 answered with Question No. 321.

Housing Schemes

Questions (323)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

323. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the new regulations for the affordable housing schemes will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61893/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing for All Strategy delivers on the Programme for Government commitment to step up housing supply and put affordability at the heart of the housing system, with an ambitious target of 300,000 homes over the next decade for social, affordable and cost rental, private rental and private ownership housing.

Measures to deliver this housing are supported by over €4 billion in funding annually, representing the highest ever level of Government investment in building social and affordable housing. 54,000 affordable homes interventions will be delivered between now and 2030 to be facilitated by local authorities, Approved Housing Bodies, the Land Development Agency and through a strategic partnership between the State and retail banks. From this figure, there will be 36,000 affordable purchase and 18,000 Cost Rental homes.

The delivery of affordable housing under Housing for All is being facilitated through a number of affordable schemes. These schemes will assist potential purchasers and renters in making housing more affordable. The Affordable Housing Act 2021 sets out the legislative basis for several such schemes, including a Local Authority Affordable Purchase scheme, the basis for a Cost Rental sector in Ireland, and the 'First Home' affordable purchase shared equity scheme.

Regulations under this Act covering the Local Authority Affordable Purchase scheme and Cost Rental are currently being finalised and once complete, will include information in relation to income and eligibility. It is anticipated that a number of these Regulations will be in published before year end, with the remainder in January 2022.

Planning Issues

Questions (324)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

324. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the new rural planning guidelines will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61894/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Rural Housing 2005, were issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 and require planning authorities to frame the planning policies in their development plans in a balanced and measured way that ensures the housing needs of rural communities are met, while avoiding excessive urban-generated housing. The Guidelines are available on the Government’s website at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/publication/23809-sustainable-rural-housing-development-guidelines/.

Since 2018, the National Planning Framework (NPF) is the national planning policy document providing overall strategic policy for the future development of Ireland. National Planning Objective (NPO) 19 aims to ensure that a policy distinction is made between areas experiencing significant ‘overspill’ development pressure from urban areas within the commuter catchment of cities, towns and centres of employment, on the one hand, and remoter rural areas where population levels may be low and or declining, on the other.

NPO 19 is aligned with the established planning approach as per the 2005 Guidelines, whereby considerations of social (intrinsic part of the community) or economic (persons working full or part-time) need may be applied by planning authorities in certain rural areas under urban influence in order to prevent urban sprawl.

National Policy Objective (NPO) 15 of the NPF fully supports the concept of the sustainable development of rural areas by encouraging growth and arresting decline in areas that have experienced low population growth or decline in recent decades, while simultaneously indicating the need to manage certain areas around cities and towns.

Updated Rural Housing Planning Guidelines are currently being prepared by my Department to ensure consistency with new requirements and legislation at national and EU level introduced in respect of areas related to rural housing such as environmental protection, the Gaeltacht and climate action. The new guidelines will ensure a more consistent approach between counties and alignment with NPF objectives, and will be prepared in draft in quarter one of 2022.

Planning Issues

Questions (325)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

325. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the new guidelines for local authorities on residential densities will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61895/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

A key outcome of both of the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the National Development Plan (NDP) is the compact growth of cities and towns of all sizes, in a manner that creates more attractive places in which people can live and work. The preferred approach is to focus on greater reuse of previously developed ‘brownfield’ land, consolidating infill sites, which may not have been built on before, and the development of sites in locations that are better serviced by existing facilities and public transport.

The NPF also acknowledges that there is a need for a more proportionate and tailored approach to residential development, especially in the context of regional cities and towns. This means that it is necessary to adapt the scale, design and layout of new housing according to the type of settlement in which it is located, and its proximity to centres and public transport services.

Statutory ‘Section 28’ ministerial guidelines for planning authorities on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (the ‘Sustainable Residential Development Guidelines’) were last issued in 2009, having been first introduced in 1999.

Further, related guidance has been subsequently issued in the form of updates to the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities, most recently in 2020, and the Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities in 2018.

While the principles, approaches and general requirements of the Sustainable Residential Development Guidelines continue to be applicable to the objectives of the NPF for the development of compact, sustainable and liveable settlements, it is necessary to review guidance to take account of more varied development contexts, given the emphasis that the NPF places on tailored, plan-led and design-focused compact growth.

My Department is currently undertaking an update of the Sustainable Residential Development Guidelines with new Sustainable and Compact Settlement Guidelines (SCSG). In the meantime, my Department issued a Circular in April 2021 to Planning Authorities, Regional Assemblies and to the Planning Regulator to provide clarity in relation to the interpretation and application of current statutory guidelines, particularly with regard to the density of development in certain town contexts.

A preliminary draft of the SCSG is currently being prepared for the purposes of screening for Appropriate Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment. Following the completion of the AA/SEA process, the Draft SCSG will be subject to a period of consultation. Submissions made during the public consultation period will be taken into consideration and thereafter, the draft guidelines will be finalised for publication. It is intended that the review can conclude by mid-2022 and that final Guidelines will be issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

Housing Provision

Questions (326)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

326. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of social housing units completed to date in 2021; and the breakdown by social housing investment programme, SHIP construction, SHIP turnkey, the capital advance leasing facility, CALF, construction, CALF turnkey, capital assistance scheme, CAS, construction, CAS turnkey, Part V purchase, Part V lease, PPP and other. [61896/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department publishes comprehensive programme level statistics on social housing delivery for each local authority on a quarterly basis. The statistics are available to the end of Quarter 3 and are published on the statistics page of my Department’s website, at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/collection/6060e-overall-social-housing-provision/.

In addition to the statistical overview of activity in each local authority, a detailed Social Housing Construction Status Report (CSR) is published each quarter, which provides scheme level detail on new build activity. The most recent publication covers the period up to the end of Quarter 3 2021 and is available at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/publication/feea9-social-housing-construction-projects-status-report-q3-2021/. The CSR provides details of the individual projects that make up the new Build programme for each local authority.

An excel version of this file can be downloaded at the following link: data.gov.ie/dataset/social-housing-construction-status-report-q3-2021?package_type=dataset. Data on Part V delivery can be found at following link: www.gov.ie/en/collection/fd048-affordable-housing-and-part-v-statistics/.

Housing Schemes

Questions (327)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

327. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of social housing tenancies created to date in 2021 under the long-term leasing scheme, the housing assistance payment, HAP, and the rental accommodation scheme, RAS. [61897/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department publishes comprehensive statistics on social housing, including Leasing, Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), on a quarterly basis.

Long term leasing forms part of the overall social housing leasing delivery which also includes delivery streams such as Mortgage to Rent Scheme, the Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) and the Enhanced Leasing Scheme. At the end of Q3 2021, a total of 1,576 homes have been delivered through the social housing leasing delivery stream, of which 948 homes have been delivered through long term leasing.

Statistics in relation to HAP and RAS can be found at the following link under the relevant headings: www.gov.ie/en/collection/6060e-overall-social-housing-provision/.

Under the Housing for All strategy, the Government plans to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 homes per year over the next decade, including an average of 10,000 new build social homes. As new build supply of social housing ramps up, there will be reducing reliance on HAP and RAS.

Long Term Leasing will be phased out by 2025. This process is already underway and my officials have begun engaging with local authorities in this regard.

Housing Schemes

Questions (328)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

328. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of new mortgage to rent tenancies funded by his Department from the start of 2021 to date. [61898/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme introduced in 2012 is targeted at supporting households in mortgage arrears who have had their mortgage position deemed unsustainable by their lender under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP); agree to the voluntary surrender of their home and are deemed eligible for social housing support. The property in question must also meet certain eligibility criteria. The concept of the scheme is that a household with an unsustainable mortgage goes from being a homeowner to being a social housing tenant. The borrower surrenders their property to their lender who sells it to a MTR provider which can be either an Approved Housing Body (AHB) or since 2018 a private company, Home for Life Ltd. The AHB or local authority (in the case where the property is sold to a private company) becomes the landlord and the borrower remains in the property as a tenant paying a differential rent to the landlord based on his or her income.

From the start of 2021 to the end of September 2021, 493 households, with unsustainable private mortgages have completed the MTR scheme. Since its introduction nationally in 2013, a total of 1497 cases have been completed up to the end of September 2021. As of that date, 850 active cases were also being progressed under the scheme. The Housing Agency publishes, on a quarterly basis, detailed statistical information on the operation of the MTR scheme which shows a breakdown of the number of active, completed, ineligible and terminated cases. This information is available on the Housing Agency's website at the following link: www.housingagency.ie/housing-information/mortgage-rent-statistics.

Housing Provision

Questions (329)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

329. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of affordable homes delivered to date in 2021 under the affordable housing fund and the cost rental equity loan providing the locations and prices of the homes to rent and buy. [61899/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Covid-19 pandemic, and associated closure and restrictions of construction sites, had significant impacts on the anticipated timelines for the delivery for Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) and Affordable Housing Fund (AHF, previously known as the Serviced Site Fund (SSF)) supported housing developments.

Notwithstanding these obstacles, 25 Cost Rental units supported by CREL were tenanted in 2021 in Taylor Hill, Co. Dublin with rents ranging between €900 and €1,250, an average of 40% below comparative market rates. A further 40 CREL-supported Cost Rental units will be tenanted before year-end (Barnhall, Co Kildare, with rents starting from €900 per month). Additionally, under the first round of CREL funding alone, 325 Cost Rental units will be delivered in 2022, across 4 local authorities.

In relation to SSF/AHF supported housing developments, notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19, 50 Cost Rental two bedroomed homes supported through the SSF/AHB have reached completion, with the tenanting process being finalised (Enniskerry Road, Co. Dublin, with rents of €1,200 per month). The first SSF/AHF-supported affordable homes for purchase will be available to purchase in Cork city in Q1 2022 (Boherboy, Cork City Council indicated prices to be €218,000 for a 2-bedroom and €243,000 for a 3-bedroom dwelling). This will be followed by a Fingal County Council supported affordable purchase development (Dun Emer, Fingal County Council have indicated these will cost €166,000 for a 2-bed apartment and between 206,000 and €258,000 for 3-bed dwellings).

In addition to the CREL and SSF/AHF supported affordable homes, in 2021 several Local Authorities have collaborated with Ó Cualann Co-Housing Alliance to deliver affordable homes for purchase. Under such arrangements, Local Authority-owned development land is provided at nominal cost and development levies are reduced or eliminated. The most recently completed phase through such arrangements will deliver a total of 37 affordable homes for purchase by year-end (Oileáin na Crannóige extension).

Under the Government’s Housing for All strategy, the AHF and CREL scheme are two important components in delivering the 54,000 affordable homes targeted between now and 2030. But additional delivery streams will also be required. Recognizing this, the Government brought forward first standalone affordable housing legislation in the Affordable Housing Act 2021. This will support the implementation of a multi-faceted approach which, combined with unprecedented levels of funding, will allow a huge scale-up in the near and medium delivery of affordable homes.

Examples of new affordable housing interventions include;

- A second round of CREL funding was launched on 22 October, and applications for this are currently being assessed. Approval-in-principle will be issued to successful applications before year-end.

- The Land Development Agency initiated a call under Project Tosaigh on 12 November focused on kick-starting stalled private developments and securing additional affordable homes. This call targeted scale in excess of 150 affordable units per development.

- Similarly, the Housing Delivery Coordination Office (within the LGMA) issued a call to secure additional affordable homes across key local authorities from stalled private developments, targeting smaller scale private developments.

- Significant progress is being made in establishing the First Home Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme. The First Home scheme is designed to support first-time buyers purchasing homes on the private market, and will be available at a national level for applications next year.

- The Croí Cónaithe initiative is in the final stages of design. This initiative focuses on overcoming the viability challenges associated with un-activated planning permissions in urban brownfield areas, estimated at 80,000 dwellings nationally. It is intended that the first calls under this initiative will be made in January.

Approved Housing Bodies

Questions (330)

Niall Collins

Question:

330. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the process to establish an approved housing body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61913/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Following on from the introduction of the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Act 2019, the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (AHBRA) was formally established on the 1st of February 2021. The Regulator will have responsibility for, inter alia, establishing and maintaining a register of AHBs; preparing standards by which AHBs will be monitored and assessed; encouraging and facilitating the better governance, administration and management, including corporate governance and financial management, of AHBs. The Regulator will also have powers to carry out investigations and cancel the registration of AHBs.

From early 2022 AHBRA will accept applications to register from new organisations that meet the eligibility criteria. In addition to the necessary eligibility criteria, organisations must provide certain information as part of the application for registration. The relevant information is available from the AHBRA website at the following link: www.ahbregulator.ie/registration/.

AHBRA have advised my Department that they will engage with any organisation to assist with the registration process, and can be contacted at info@ahbregulator.ie.

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