The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) has been developed under Pillar 5 of the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to assist private property owners and local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to harness the accommodation potential that exists in vacant properties. The scheme is targeted at owners of vacant properties who cannot afford or access the funding needed to bring their properties up to the required standard for rental purposes. Subject to the suitability of the property for social housing, and the agreement of the property owner, the cost of the necessary repairs will be met upfront by the relevant local authority or an Approved Housing Body (AHB). As part of the agreement, the property owner then leases the dwelling to the local authority for use as social housing for a length that is linked to the value of the repairs but subject to a minimum of 5 years. RLS is not a grant scheme; the value of the repairs is offset incrementally against the agreed rental payment over a defined period within the lease. The RLS is available in all local authority areas. However, it is a condition of the scheme that the property is in an area with a social housing need and fulfils social housing demand.
Property owners may also qualify for schemes such as the Better Energy Homes Scheme. The Better Energy Homes Scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) to help homeowners and landlords reduce their energy costs and emissions by providing grants towards insulation, heating control and solar thermal improvements on homes occupied and built before 2006. Further details on grant payments and qualifying works are available from the SEAI website at www.seai.ie. There is also an annual grants scheme for the conservation and repair of traditional farm buildings and related structures for farmers in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS). Information is available on the Heritage Ireland website at www.heritagecouncil.ie/projects/traditional-farm-buildings-grant-scheme