Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Corporation Housing Sales Scheme.


asked the Minister for the Environment if he is aware that in some cases the Dublin Corporation housing sales scheme to sitting tenants results in a gross sales price of £10,000 in excess of the open market value and that this anomaly apparently results from the use of the CSO money value tables; and the immediate steps he proposes to take to rectify this anomaly.

I am aware that the present method of calculating house prices under the local authority house purchase scheme can in some cases result in sale prices that may be significantly under or over the market value of the houses concerned and I am examining ways in which the scheme might be revised to deal with this situation.

This question arises because certain tenants are being asked to pay in excess of £10,000 over the market price in the Finglas east area. What steps does the Minister propose to take to enable these families to buy their homes at a reasonable price?

I am examining ways in which the scheme might be revised to deal with the situation. This is one of the matters we are considering with the national tenants organisation. We have bi-annual reviews of rents and the house purchase scheme also comes under review. We will take the point raised by the Deputy into consideration when we are discussing these matters with them. We negotiate through that organisation and we will continue that practice.

That is fine, there is no problem with that, but there are families who any day now will be asked to sign contract forms for houses which are overvalued by £10,000. These people must either sign now or lose the chance to buy their houses without knowing what form a new scheme will take or if they will be worse off when the new scheme comes into effect. Is the Minister prepared to ask Dublin Corporation not to close any outstanding applications which do not want to be closed pending the introduction of the new scheme or pending the review of the existing prices being asked?

If a person does not wish to proceed with the proposal, he does not have to. As I said, this matter is under review, but these changes have always been made through negotiations with the tenants' organisation. If we step outside that arena we may be accused of a breach of faith and it might be said that we are operating on our own without prior consultation. We are in consultation with this organisation and we hope to resolve the problem the Deputy raised.

As it stands, the scheme does not allow for any appeal against the price arrived at by the local authority. There are particular families at present who expect to be asked to sign contracts in a matter of days.

A question please, Deputy.

They do not know whether they would benefit from a new scheme which may be introduced. There has been no corporation purchase scheme since July 1984.

The Deputy should not ignore the Chair.

Is the Minister prepared to consider requests from specific families who do not want to close their contracts at this time? Will he tell them they can delay signing those contracts pending the introduction of the new scheme?

I do not want to preempt any scheme nor do I want to give people the idea that they will get a better deal under the new scheme, but each person has to decide if they want to defer signing this contract. Because we are negotiating with the tenants' organisation at present, I do not want to make any statements which might be seen as a breach of good faith.

I am not asking the Minister to give the details of a new scheme; I am simply asking him to consider applications from existing tenants who may be asked to sign contracts at prices which are at least £10,000 above normal market prices, and that those applications be allowed sit until such time as a new scheme is introduced so that they can decide if they are prepared to pay the exorbitant price they are being asked to pay, or if they will opt for the new scheme.

They want it both ways.

Why not? They are entitled to it.

I will look at this. To charge £10,000 above the market price seems extraordinary. Perhaps the Deputy would give me that information——

I have sent it to the Department.

I have not seen it.

I will pass it on to the Minister.

It would be a help.

The price the corporation are asking for a four year old three bedroomed house, without any central heating, end of terrace, is £38,000; and the asking price for a centre terrace house is £45,000. These houses have been valued by a reputable auctioneer in the area at £25,000.

The Deputy should accept the Minister's invitation and send the information to him at the Department.

I do not want to be responsible for people deciding not to sign this contract in the hope that something better will come along, because so far no agreement has been reached. I will examine the situation as a matter of urgency to see what can be done.