Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Ceisteanna (659, 660)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

659. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of subsidies paid to approved housing bodies over the past three years to date; the way in which he monitors the use of subsidies issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36982/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

660. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of management and maintenance fees paid to approved housing bodies over the past three years to date; the way in which he monitors the use of the fees issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36983/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 659 and 660 together.

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are making an important contribution to social housing delivery, as envisaged in Rebuilding Ireland. My Department operates a number of funding programmes that assist local authorities to work in partnership with AHBs to construct, purchase or lease new homes and make them available for social housing.

This funding is underpinned by either mortgage agreements, capital advance agreements, leases or Payment and Availability agreements (P&A) which set out the terms and conditions of the funding and the specific responsibilities the AHB has for the properties and their tenants.

Where an AHB has purchased or constructed a property that is in their ownership, the responsibility for management and maintenance of that property is a matter for them to meet, in most cases, from their own income. This income is derived, in the main, from a combination of rent payments from the tenant and monthly payments made by the local authority to the AHB in accordance with a P&A agreement which is in place for each of these properties. The Agreements entered into under this model can be for a long period of time, up to 30 years, which may place additional cyclical maintenance/life cycle costs responsibilities on the AHB.

The main area in which specific management and maintenance fees or ongoing supports are provided relate to the now closed Capital Loan & Subsidy Scheme (CLSS). The vast majority of CLSS funding is for the repayment of loan charges (principle and interest) to the Housing Finance Agency, in respect of loans advanced to the AHBs for their delivery of new social housing under the CLSS. The balance of the CLSS funding provided is in respect of a management and maintenance allowance for the upkeep, by the AHBs, of the CLSS funded properties, in line with the terms of scheme. The amounts paid under the CLSS since 2017 are as follows: 

Year

Loan Charges

Management and Maintenance Allowance

2017

€41,620,966

€4,300,377

2018

€48,994,521

€4,213,362

2019*

€39,787,388

€2,143,179

In relation to subsidies, my Department does not provide AHBs, or local authorities for onward payment to AHBs, with financial subsidies towards AHBs’ general operational running costs and administration. Funding is available to cover elements of the cost of administering various agreements and related outlay in the initial period of a new property becoming available for social housing under various arrangements. Specifically, there are two separate forms of start-up funding available to AHBs which are funded by local authorities and recouped to them by my Department:

- Capital start-up funding up to 1.5% of the capital cost of either the acquisition, construction or refurbishment of the homes being made available under a P&A agreement that has received a Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) loan from the local authority;

- Leasing/P&A start-up funding up to 5% of the value of the first year’s P&A payment on a property.

In the case of CALF start-up costs, the capital cost is verified with vouched expenditure by the local authority at the signing of the Capital Advance Agreement, i.e. the loan agreement, and the start-up claims are subsequently drawn down post-completion of the properties. As of 1 July 2019, AHBs drawdown start-up funds from the local authorities, who certify that the funding is being used for the purpose intended and in line with the terms of the scheme. As the statutory housing authorities, local authorities are responsible for the administration of the funding and I am satisfied that they are managing the funding in a responsible manner. The amounts paid since 2017 are as follows: 

Year

1.5% Capital Cost Start-funding paid

5% Leasing/ P&A Start-up funding paid

2017

€0.9m

€398,700

2018

€2.5m

€513,760

2019*

€1.09m

€266,673

*Year to date