I propose to take Questions Nos. 313 and 314 together.
As confirmed in the Government's recently published Housing For All Strategy, it is intended that a ‘Fresh Start’ principle will apply to applications to State-run affordable housing and loan schemes. This means that people who are divorced/separated and no longer have a financial interest in the family home, or who have undergone insolvency proceedings, will be eligible to apply for State schemes.
As part of Housing for All, I also announced that a reformed successor to the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan (RIHL) Scheme, the Local Authority Home Loan, will be in place later in 2021. I will be introducing the new Local Authority Home Loan, which includes an increase in the income ceiling for single applicants, once the appropriate Regulations are put in place. I have already implemented a reduction of the mortgage interest rate for new borrowers by 0.25% under the existing RIHL Scheme from 10 September 2021; this lower rate will also apply to loans issued under the Local Authority Home Loan.
The Affordable Housing Act 2021 was signed into law by the President on 21 July 2021 and details the provisions under which affordable housing schemes will be delivered. The Fresh Start principle has already been accommodated in the Affordable Housing Act 2021 with regards to eligibility for the Local Authority Affordable Home Scheme under Part 2 and Section 10 of that Act and the wider assessment of eligibility.
On 18 August, I signed the Affordable Housing Act 2021 (Commencement) (Parts 1 and 3) Order 2021, which commenced Parts 1 and 3 of the Act from 19 August. This brought into operation the Cost Rental element of the Act. On 2 September 2021, I signed the Affordable Housing Act 2021 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2021, which commenced Part 2 (other than subsections (2)(c), (6), and (7) of section 6) and Parts 4, 6, 7, and 8 of the Act from 3 September.
With the relevant elements of the Act relating to the Local Authority Affordable Purchase scheme (Part 2) and Cost Rental (part 3) now commenced, it is my intention to make further Regulations governing the eligibility and price ceilings that will be applicable to these schemes in the coming weeks.
Funding applications have already been approved to support the delivery of affordable and cost rental homes through by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies. The first affordable homes for purchase will be made available before the year end in Boherboy by Cork City Council. The first Cost Rental Units have already been tenanted by Cluid in Taylor Hill, Balbriggan at 40% below comparative rates. Another Cost Rental development of 50 two bedroomed apartments in Enniskerry Road, Dún Laoghaire is currently being advertised and will be tenanted before year end.
Part 4 of the Affordable Housing Act provides the basis for the establishment of the 'First Home' (shared equity) scheme and which is to be operated and administered by a newly established special purpose vehicle (SPV). It also provides that I, as Minister, may agree the terms by which the equity support may be provided covering, inter alia, areas such as purchaser eligibility and financial means, the homes that may be considered eligible under the scheme, and the amount of funding that can be provided. Work on the detailed design and operation of the scheme is advancing and the Government's recently published Housing For All Plan confirms the intention to introduce the First Home Scheme in Q1 2022.