Local Authority Functions

Ceisteanna (693)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

693. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the associated regulations on the holding of plebiscites for place names will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas in view of the fact that the Local Government Act 2019 has been enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11488/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Following enactment of the Local Government Act 2019, in January 2019, the Regulations to prescribe how ballots to change a place-name are to be conducted by a local authority or municipal district are at an advanced stage of preparation and should be complete shortly.

Local Authority Housing

Ceisteanna (694)

John Curran

Ceist:

694. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the schemes and supports in place to help a person to relocate from a Dublin to a rural local authority house; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11524/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, a household may apply to one housing authority only for social housing support at a time. Currently it is not possible for a household on the waiting list of one housing authority to transfer its application to another authority and to carry the time spent on the previous list.

A commitment has been given to examine the possibility of introducing a “housing passport”. The basic premise is that households in receipt of, or qualified for, social housing support in one local authority area could potentially transfer to, or be allocated, social housing in another local authority area. My Department is currently developing proposals in relation to this matter, details of which will be outlined when the work involved is complete.

Local Authority Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (695)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

695. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the working family payment will be re-examined as part of assessable means when determining a rent review, HAP or a social housing application by a local authority (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11534/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is under way, and this review will encompass issues such as the one referred to. The Housing Agency is continuing to carry out the detailed statistical work, which will underpin this review, on behalf of my Department.

The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.

In relation to local authority rents, the power of local authorities to set and collect rents on their dwellings is laid down in section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. The making or amending of such schemes is a local authority function and is subject to broad principles set out by my Department, including that rent levels should be based on income and reflect tenants’ ability to pay.

Different approaches are taken to rent charging and setting across the country, which can mean that various sources of income are treated differently in different local authority areas. Considerable work has been carried out by my Department in developing a draft national differential rents framework for the purposes of section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. Such a framework has as its main aim the harmonisation of local authority rents, including a set of standardised income disregards, while retaining the general principle of rents being related to household income. I expect that the review will be completed in the near future.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (696, 711, 719, 725, 726)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

696. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when funding for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme will be made available to Meath County Council. [11588/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

711. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the steps taken in order to reopen the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the proposed date for the reopening of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11873/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

719. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason he has instructed Dublin and Fingal county councils to cease taking in new applications for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; if his attention has been drawn to the stress and worry that this is causing persons hoping to take up the loan; when the matter will be resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12261/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

725. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there will be no delay in approving Rebuilding Ireland home loan applications due to funding shortages for the scheme in view of his clarification that councils can continue to accept and process applications for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12333/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

726. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the local authorities that have reached their spending limit under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and when further funds will be allocated. [12348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 696, 711, 719, 725 and 726 together.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched in February of last year to replace the existing local authority mortgage schemes, which were funded through loans that local authorities obtained from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) for that purpose.

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. The scheme has proven to be far more successful than originally anticipated, and the level of funding issued by local authorities to end January 2019 is approximately €106m, which is ahead of initial estimates for the scheme. As a result, to date, a number of local authorities have issued loans to a level which has used up their approved allocations for lending for mortgage and home improvement. Based on the latest information available, these are Fingal County Council, Kildare County Council, Meath County Council, Tipperary County Council, Waterford City & County Council, Wicklow County Council and Wexford County Council.

I am currently in discussions with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for the scheme. Specific allocations to local authorities for 2019 will be finalised when those discussions have concluded. In the meantime, the scheme remains open and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (697)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

697. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason Clare County Council has been informed that it can no longer purchase private dwellings for its social housing programme; the number of social houses or apartments built directly by the council that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11683/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Clare County Council has not received a notification from my Department that it can no longer acquire private dwellings for its social housing programme. Contact between my Department and Clare County Council has been around the imminent issuing of social housing targets for 2019 and the fact that, while the Council is likely to undertake further acquisitions, the priority for its social housing delivery programme needs to be its construction programme.

Clare County Council already has a number of acquisitions in train for 2019 and further activity in this area will be reviewed with the Council once they have received their 2019 targets. I will support the Council in the blend of delivery they undertake to meet the Rebuilding Ireland targets for the county. However, it is critical that their programme in 2019 has a heightened focus on construction delivery.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (698, 704, 705)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

698. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he was first informed that the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme was oversubscribed and that local authorities were unable to process application forms due to a lack of funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

704. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the reports of the discontinuance of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the reason this information was not put in the public domain; and his plans to enable persons who sought to benefit from it to gain access to the scheme. [11771/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

705. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11774/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 698, 704 and 705 together.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched in February of last year to replace the existing local authority mortgage schemes, which were funded through loans that local authorities obtained from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) for that purpose.

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. The scheme has proven to be far more successful than originally anticipated, and the level of funding issued by local authorities to end January 2019 is approximately €106m, which is ahead of initial estimates for the scheme.

My officials have kept me informed regarding the progress of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on a regular basis and have been engaging with officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the scheme since October 2018, when it became clear that the rate at which loans were being approved was higher than was originally anticipated. However, at that stage it was not yet clear that these approvals were being translated into actual loans issued by the local authorities. In fact much of the criticism at the time was that insufficient loans were being approved and/or drawn down. However, as Minister I had made a commitment on launching the scheme that I would seek further funding for it at an early stage, if necessary, given my belief in its potential. It was clear from data gathered towards the end of the year that drawdowns were happening at an increased rate. Indeed, by the end of January €106m had been drawn down, which accounted for some 53% of the available funding, at which point €66m would have been more consistent with the expectation of funds being drawn down over a three year period. I informed the Dáil on 29 January 2019 that the scheme had proven to be more successful than initially anticipated, as a result of which it would require a further tranche of funds to be borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency in order to enable its continuation. I further indicated that my Department was in discussions with the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Finance with regard to an extension of the scheme and that when these discussions were concluded I would make an announcement on the matter.

A meeting with the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform was scheduled for 4 February 2019. However, this had to be rescheduled and took place on 5 March 2019. At no time was the first tranche of funding depleted and, following the meeting on 5 March 2019, I informed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government that local authorities could continue to accept applications as discussions had commenced on further funding. As of the end of January 2019, €106m has been lent, supporting 575 individuals and families to buy their first home.

I am currently in discussions with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for the scheme. Specific allocations to local authorities for 2019 will be finalised when those discussions have concluded. However, in the meantime the scheme remains open and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (699, 706, 710, 712, 727, 728)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

699. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme processed by the Housing Agency; the number recommended by the Housing Agency; the number refused; the number sent back for further information; the amount recommended; the number of loans under the scheme drawn down to date; the value of such loans; the corresponding data for all information requested by local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11691/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

706. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications made under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in County Tipperary; the number that were approved; the overall loan allocation under the scheme on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11778/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

710. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications made under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme for south County Dublin. [11871/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Harty

Ceist:

712. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons in County Clare assisted in buying their first home by availing of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the number of applicants in County Clare who have been approved but have not drawn down the funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12034/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

727. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of loan applications to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in County Mayo; and the number approved. [12349/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

728. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount the local authority in County Mayo has been allocated under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and the amount spent or drawn down. [12350/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 699, 706, 710, 712, 727 and 728 together.

The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications. Each local authority must have in place a credit committee and it is a matter for the committee to make the decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

The most recent figures, as at the end of February 2019, indicate that the Housing Agency had assessed 4,153 applications since the scheme began. Of these, 674 were deemed invalid, 1,772 were recommended for approval, and 1,682 were recommended for refusal. The data provided does not include figures on the number of applications returned for further information.

The Housing Agency compiles figures on the number of applications it has assessed and subsequently recommended to approve on a county-by-county basis, and the available figures as of the end of February 2019 are as set out in the following table.

Local Authority

Applications Assessed

Recommended to Approve

Carlow County Council

48

17

Cavan County Council

18

8

Clare County Council

54

19

Cork City Council

125

63

Cork County Council

282

159

Donegal County Council

34

20

Dublin City Council

395

241

Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council

92

49

Fingal County Council

490

264

Galway City Council

74

34

Galway County Council

123

46

Kerry County Council

97

41

Kildare County Council

173

87

Kilkenny County Council

30

16

Laois County Council

79

42

Leitrim County Council

11

4

Limerick City & County Council

97

55

Longford County Council

33

16

Louth County Council

89

37

Mayo County Council

57

23

Meath County Council

227

142

Monaghan County Council

25

9

Offaly County Council

44

15

Roscommon County Council

31

13

Sligo County Council

44

22

South Dublin County Council

247

128

Tipperary County Council

95

37

Waterford City & County Council

60

21

Westmeath County Council

29

19

Wexford County Council

101

54

Wicklow County Council

150

71

Total

3,454

1,772

In addition to this, my Department publishes information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Information up to the end of Quarter 3 2018, including in relation to number and value of mortgage drawdowns, is available on the Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity.

As part of the Review of the operation of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, my Department obtained information form the local authorities on loans drawn down to the end of January. These details are set out in the following table.

Local Authority

Loans issued to end January 2019

Value of loans issued to end January 2019

Carlow County Council

5

€510,000

Cavan County Council

1

€180,000

Clare County Council

14

€1,708,622

Cork City Council

1

€120,000

Cork County Council

25

€4,058,900

Donegal County Council

3

€204,875

Dublin City Council

111

€23,525,855

Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council

5

€1,264,500

Fingal County Council

82

€18,254,259

Galway City Council

11

€1,679,000

Galway County Council

17

€2,263,781

Kerry County Council

6

€812,600

Kildare County Council

68

€14,973,597

Kilkenny County Council

6

€803,240

Laois County Council

12

€1,836,100

Leitrim County Council

0

€0

Limerick City & County Council

2

€343,800

Longford County Council

5

€356,875

Louth County Council

10

€1,829,500

Mayo County Council

8

€793,100

Meath County Council

57

€11,051,630

Monaghan County Council

1

€67,500

Offaly County Council

0

€0

Roscommon County Council

2

€242,000

Sligo County Council

8

€869,000

South Dublin County Council

29

€6,671,918

Tipperary County Council

15

€1,524,950

Waterford City & County Council

14

€2,039,292

Westmeath County Council

6

€971,500

Wexford County Council

33

€3,771,100

Wicklow County Council

18

€3,992,475

Total

575

€106,719,969

In relation to the allocations of funding to individual local authorities under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan to individual local authorities, the final allocations assigned to each local authority for mortgage and home improvement loans in 2018 are detailed in the below table. These final allocations are reflective of an internal rebalancing exercise carried out by my Department in respect of the approved allocations notified to the local authorities based on estimated drawdowns for 2018 as notified by the authorities.

County Councils

Final Allocation 2018 (€)

Carlow

5,200,000

Cavan

2,100,000

Clare

4,500,000

Cork

6,000,000

DL/Rathdown

10,020,000

Donegal

2,000,000

Fingal

19,276,000

Galway

3,924,000

Kerry

3,075,000

Kildare

8,000,000

Kilkenny

6,080,000

Laois

5,500,000

Leitrim

500,000

Longford

1,200,000

Louth

4,300,000

Mayo

5,456,036

Meath

9,300,000

Monaghan

5,000,000

Offaly

1,700,000

Roscommon

1,500,000

Sligo

3,375,000

South Dublin

25,000,000

Tipperary

1,978,470

Westmeath

4,576,000

Wexford

7,000,000

Wicklow

4,000,000

City Councils

Cork

1,520,000

Dublin

50,000,000

Galway

3,000,000

City & County Councils

Limerick

2,545,916

Waterford

2,000,000

TOTAL

209,626,422

Since its launch in February 2018, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan has proven to be more successful than was initially anticipated. Discussions are ongoing with the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Finance with regard to further funding for the scheme, and once these discussions have concluded my Department will be in touch with local authorities regarding their specific allocations for 2019. However, in the meantime the scheme remains open and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (700)

James Browne

Ceist:

700. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the process for Rebuilding Ireland home loan mortgage applications; if county council approval should be obtained before a deposit is paid; if the 2019 capital loan amounts have issued to each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11696/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme is administered by local authorities in their areas of responsibility. Each authority has a credit committee which makes the final decision on whether a loan is approved.  The Housing Agency provides a central assessment service for the local authorities. Based on a rigorous financial analysis, the Housing Agency make a recommendation for approval or rejection to the local authorities on each application made under the scheme.

The assessments carried out by the Housing Agency and the decisions made by local authority credit committees are made in accordance with the credit policy issued under the Regulations establishing the scheme. The credit policy sets out strict criteria for determining the eligibility of a person to qualify for loan approval and the Housing Agency has recommended that applications be rejected in 49% of the cases it has assessed. With regard to when a person should pay a deposit on a property, that is a matter for individuals themselves to decide.

I am currently in discussions with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for the scheme.  Specific allocations to local authorities for 2019 will be finalised when those discussions have concluded.  In the meantime the scheme remains operational and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

Traveller Accommodation

Ceisteanna (701)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

701. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding Traveller accommodation that is lying idle at Cabragh, Thurles, County Tipperary; the expenditure on same under the Traveller-specific accommodation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11762/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.

As part of the allocation process, local authorities submit a programme of capital works for individual Traveller-specific projects and developments, which are assessed in my Department, in advance of allocations being made. My Department provided a total of €2,228,669 to Tipperary County Council in respect of the development at Cabragh Bridge. I understand that a mediation process is ongoing in relation to the occupancy of the accommodation at this site and the Council is hopeful of resolution to the current situation.

Residential Tenancies Board

Ceisteanna (702)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

702. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government where a complaint can be directed regarding poor customer service by a client that had a very negative experience in dealing with them in view of the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman will not hear complaints regarding the Residential Tenancies Board other than in connection with Part 7 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11763/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 regulate the landlord-tenant relationship in the residential rental sector and set out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) was established as an independent statutory body under the Acts to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. The RTB has a quasi-judicial role and it would be inappropriate for me, as Minister, to comment on, or to interfere in, the specifics of any case.

Complaints regarding the RTB’s Dispute Resolution Service are outside of the remit of the Office of the Ombudsman, as the Dispute Resolution Service is a quasi-judicial process and case outcomes are decided by independent adjudicators and mediators. If a case party is unhappy with the outcome of their mediation or adjudication hearing, they may appeal the case to a three-member Tribunal within the RTB. The determination order of the Tribunal may be appealed within 21 days to the High Court on a point of law.

The RTB provides a customer complaint service in line with its Customer Charter, which is published on their website, www.rtb.ie. The RTB is committed to providing excellence in customer service and seeks to continuously improve its services based on customer feedback. The RTB has recently further invested in its customer service resources to improve all aspects of customer services and training in this area.

Traveller Accommodation

Questions Nos. 704 and 705 answered with Question No. 698.

Question No. 706 answered with Question No. 699.

Ceisteanna (703)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

703. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the regulations for the specific parking on local authority owned property of so-called touring caravans under the Traveller specific accommodation scheme; when the policy and regulations were introduced; the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11768/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas. Local authorities are responsible for the management and maintenance of Traveller-specific sites. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing safe, culturally appropriate Traveller accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.

The parking of touring caravans on local authority property is not addressed under this legislation. Issues in this regard in relation to a particular site should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Questions Nos. 704 and 705 answered with Question No. 698.
Question No. 706 answered with Question No. 699.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (707, 717)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

707. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce an affordable housing scheme; the likely principles of such a scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

717. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the schemes which are available to support persons who wish to purchase their own home; the criteria of the schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12187/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 707 and 717 together.

Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides a new statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase. The new affordable purchase scheme is based on local authorities providing, directly or indirectly, below market price housing.

The main tenets of the Scheme are as follows:

- It will be targeted towards low- to middle-income first-time buyer households;

- Discounts of up to 40% of the market price of the property will be provided;

- The local authority will place a charge against the property equal to the discount provided;

- The charge is repayable and the proceeds will be placed into a centralised affordable housing fund giving the scheme long-term sustainability;

- The affordable dwellings fund will be administered by the Housing Finance Agency.

In terms of the priority areas for operation of the scheme, this will be influenced by the economic assessments which local authorities were asked to carry out in relation to the affordability issues in their areas.

The Act itself contains significant detail on the new arrangements, reducing the extent to which regulations are required. Insofar as regulations are necessary, the most immediate requirement is for regulations dealing with the making of schemes of priority by local authorities. I will be signing regulations which will deal with that issue shortly, which will allow local authorities to finalise their schemes of priorities by June 2019, as required. Further regulations and detailed guidance will issue to local authorities thereafter.

The affordable housing scheme will be open to applications according as projects are delivered. In that regard, significant delivery is to be achieved through the €310 million Serviced Site Fund (SSF), under which at least 6,200 affordable homes are to be supported over the next three years. An initial 10 projects have been approved for €43m of funding under the first call for proposals under the SSF. A second call will issue shortly and the first homes are expected to be delivered in 2020.

In addition, some 2,350 affordable homes will be delivered on mainly publicly owned lands being supported through the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), while 5,600 further homes will benefit from a LIHAF-related cost reduction. The work of the Land Development Agency (LDA) will also be of crucial importance in terms of delivering more affordable housing; the initial portfolio of sites that the LDA has access to will have the potential, over the short to medium term, to deliver 3,000 affordable homes in line with the Government policy of achieving 30% affordable housing on State lands generally.

In parallel with this, the Dublin local authorities continue to progress a number of other significant housing projects on publicly owned lands, including the redevelopment of O'Devaney Gardens, St. Michael's Estate and a site at Oscar Traynor Road in Dublin city, yielding over 550 affordable homes. The timing of delivery under these projects is contingent on the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, but the local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible.

Defective Building Materials

Ceisteanna (708)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

708. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to carry out a survey of homes to examine if persons are living in unsafe properties as highlighted in a report (details supplied); his further plans for a redress scheme for purchasers of houses and apartments that were not properly constructed and that are non-compliant with building and fire regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11854/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In the first instance, I would like to acknowledge the stressful circumstances which the owners and residents of buildings face when defects occur in their homes.

However, in general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved: the homeowner, the builder, the developer and/or their respective insurers, structural guarantee or warranty scheme. It is important to note that while my Department has overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining an effective regulatory framework for building standards and building control, it has no general statutory role in resolving defects in privately owned buildings, including dwellings, nor does it have a budget for such matters.

Local authorities have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003, the Housing Acts and the Planning and Development Acts, all of which may be relevant where fire safety concerns arise in residential developments. Fire services may inspect buildings in cases of defects or complaints in respect of fire safety. They work with building owners to ensure immediate risks are addressed, and put a plan in place for works to bring buildings into compliance. They have enforcement powers for cases where co-operation is not forthcoming, or progress cannot be made on an agreed basis.

In the interest of supporting owners and residents living in developments where concerns regarding non-compliance with fire safety requirements arise, it was agreed that a review be undertaken by an independent fire expert to develop a framework for general application. In August 2017, the Framework for Enhancing Fire Safety in Dwellings was published, which is intended to be used as a guide by the owners and occupants of dwellings where fire safety deficiencies have been identified, or are a cause for concern. The Framework will also be of assistance to professional advisors, both in developing strategies to improve fire safety and in developing strategies to enable continued occupation in advance of undertaking the necessary works to ensure compliance with the relevant Building Regulations. The framework contains the following:

- an explanation of the statutory provisions in respect of fire safety, namely the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2014 and the Fire Services Acts 1981 & 2003, and the respective responsibilities of owners, designers, builders, occupants, local authorities;

- a range of actions that may reduce risk and improve the level of fire safety where deficiencies arise in dwelling houses, apartments and/or the common areas of apartment buildings; and

- a fire risk assessment methodology for professional advisors to prioritise the remedial actions, if any, that may need to be carried out on a dwelling.

The Framework is available on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/framework_for_enhancing_fire_safety_in_dwellings.pdf.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, and in recognition of fears expressed for fire safety, my Department's National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management was asked to convene a Task Force to lead a re-appraisal of our approach to fire safety in Ireland. In its report, the Task Force acknowledges the importance of fire safety in apartment buildings and makes a number of recommendations in this regard and I have tasked the Directorate's Management Board with implementation of the recommendations within its remit, and oversight of the implementation of other recommendations. The Task Force Report is available on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/fire_safety_in_ireland_-_report_of_the_fire_safety_task_force.pdf.

Additionally, in response to the building failures that have emerged over the last decade, my Department has advanced a robust and focused Building Control Reform Agenda, including:

- Amendments to the Building Control Regulations;

- Establishment of a shared services National Building Control Management Project; and

- The ongoing development of new legislation through the Building Control (Construction Industry Register Ireland) Bill.

These reforms have already brought, and will continue to bring, a new order and discipline to bear on construction projects, creating an enhanced culture of compliance with the Building Regulations.

Social and Affordable Housing

Question No. 710 answered with Question No. 699.

Question No. 711 answered with Question No. 696.

Question No. 712 answered with Question No. 699.

Ceisteanna (709)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

709. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 673 of 22 January 2019, if he has finalised the regulations for the affordable purchase scheme; when the regulations will be published and circulated to local authorities; the reason for the ongoing delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11860/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides a new statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase. The Act itself contains significant detail on the new arrangements, reducing the extent to which regulations are required. Insofar as regulations are necessary, the most immediate requirement is for regulations dealing with the making of schemes of priority by local authorities.

A draft of the relevant regulations for this purpose has been prepared and I expect that these will be finalised and submitted to me for signature shortly. Further regulations and detailed guidance will issue to local authorities thereafter.

Question No. 710 answered with Question No. 699.
Question No. 711 answered with Question No. 696.
Question No. 712 answered with Question No. 699.

Property Registration

Question No. 714 answered with Question No. 688.

Ceisteanna (713)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

713. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to a backlog in registrations in the Land Registry; if such a delay is holding up the sale of a property; if there is a system of expediting a particular case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12072/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Property Registration Authority (PRA) is the State organisation responsible for the registration of property transactions in Ireland. In 2018, the PRA completed 226,111 land registry transactions, an increase of 17% on 2017.  Over 80% of cases that were in order for registration and did not require a change to the map or examination of title were completed within ten days or less. At the end of 2018, there were 101,938 applications on hand.

Of the cases on hand, some 18% relate to first registration applications and such cases often take longer to resolve as the applications are legally complex and generally require queries with the lodging party.  In addition, notice must be served on all interested parties and appropriate time allowed for objections. The PRA must also be fully satisfied that a case is fully grounded, the nature of the title proven and that all interested parties’ concerns have been fully considered before registering a State guaranteed title.

The number of first registration cases on hands is reflective of a large intake of such cases since the extension of compulsory first registration to the entire country in 2011.  The PRA has put an action plan in place, including targeted resources and business process improvements, to tackle the first registration case-load. Importantly, it has put in place a number of initiatives to enhance its engagement with solicitors aimed at improving the quality of applications received. In particular cases, for example, where processing is required to facilitate a sale, a request to expedite can be submitted directly to the PRA, in accordance with its customer service policy.

Arrangements have been put in place by all bodies under the aegis of my Department to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas.  The contact email address for the Property Registration Authority is reps@prai.ie.

Question No. 714 answered with Question No. 688.

Housing Regeneration

Ceisteanna (715, 716)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

715. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the final cost of a regeneration project in Ballymun, Dublin 11; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12177/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

716. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the cost of works to date on dwellings which were new builds as part of the Ballymun regeneration project and have since required remediation works (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12178/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 715 and 716 together.

The Ballymun regeneration programme spanned a long number of years, with Departmental funding first arising in 1999. This substantial programme, which comprised 24 projects, is now complete. The overall programme is estimated to have cost approximately €972 million. Funding of €775.3 million was provided via my Department.

Largely completed by the end of 2013, the Ballymun programme represents the largest regeneration initiative undertaken in the State. The State's investment resulted in almost 2,000 new replacement homes being constructed for the former residents of the original flat blocks. An additional 1,350 homes were provided via private sector investment.

In addition, the programme provided state-of-the-art community facilities, such as the Axis theatre, along with neighbourhood centres to improve services. In recent years the regeneration activity has focused on improving the area’s environmental performance with various green initiatives, new parks and playing pitches. Enterprise and employment generation has focused on the main street and retail parks, with many new employment opportunities created for residents of the area.

In relation to the maintenance of dwellings, it is very important that local authority housing stock is maintained to an appropriate standard. Under the Housing Acts, such management and maintenance is, in the first instance, a matter for each individual local authority, in this case Dublin City Council. Separately, my Department has provided exchequer funding to support the remediation of pyrite-affected projects. This was in respect of 124 units at Sillogue 4 (€9.3 million), 52 units at Carton Estate (€3.2 million) and 4 units at Owensilla Terrace (€400,000).

An enduring regeneration project must extend beyond physical redevelopment alone. In order to be successful and sustainable over the long term, a regeneration project requires the rebuilding of a community and a strengthening of community bonds. Taken together, the provision of state-of-the-art community facilities, large-scale housing regeneration and new development, and support for local enterprise and employment, have enabled the Ballymun regeneration programme to be completed on a sustainable basis.