Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (1946)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

1946. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approvals given to local authorities regarding unsold affordable houses that did not sell at the time and approval was given to them to be leased to an approved housing body; if local authorities can now sell these houses to the original approved housing body or another approved housing body in view of the fact that this would give security for tenants as some of the lease agreements are short term and it would also allow the approved housing body carry out maintenance on these properties and keep them in a proper condition, which they are not in a position to do so at the moment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35282/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In April 2009, my Department issued guidance to local authorities on the use of unsold affordable dwellings as a means to meet social housing need. This was to be achieved through the social housing leasing programme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), with the dwellings being leased or managed by an Approved Housing Body (AHB) or private management company for a period of up to 5 years, with an option to extend the agreement to a maximum of 10 years. These dwellings are funded under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP). The number of unsold affordable dwellings supported by SHCEP at end 2018 was 2, 049.

As the 10 year period is now coming to an end in respect of many of these dwellings, my Department has established an internal working group to consider a long term strategy for unsold affordable dwellings. The principal task of the group is to consider options for these dwellings and facilitate consultation with local authorities, AHBs and the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) as to what future action may be appropriate.

In that regard, the Department is currently undertaking a data gathering exercise in relation to this issue. When this exercise is complete, and following consultation by the Department with all relevant stakeholders (including local authorities, AHBs and the HFA), updated guidance on the options available to local authorities in respect of their unsold affordable dwellings will be issued.