The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government Mr Simon Coveney T.D., today (23 February, 2017) announced that the pilot scheme that targets vacant properties and secures them for social housing, by financing the cost of repairs, is to be rolled out on a national basis. An additional €26m is being provided to fund the scheme in 2017 which brings the total amount of investment available this year to €32m. This additional funding will mean that up to 800 vacant properties can be brought back into use as new homes for families on local authority waiting lists.
“The pilot has been working well in Waterford and Carlow local authorities since October with around 59 properties currently in train. Based on this level of interest in the scheme, I am confident that the initiative can deliver up to 800 homes this year. Property owners see the opportunity the scheme presents for them – upfront financing of the cost of repairs – in fact they need not even get involved in arranging the works, and a secure and reliable income from regular rental payments, without having to take on landlord responsibilities.”
The Department is currently working with local authorities to implement the scheme on a local basis. A range of Approved Housing Bodies around the country have also expressed an interest in working with local authorities to deliver new social homes using the scheme. “I see these bodies having a significant role in its success – their local knowledge, experience of managing refurbishment projects, as well as being good landlords will be invaluable” said the Minister.
The scheme will be monitored very closely this year in order to ensure that it works and is cost effective. This approach will also assist in understanding the real potential of the scheme over the coming years.
The Repair and Leasing Scheme is one of a number of initiatives in Rebuilding Ireland to address vacant properties around the country. Other initiatives include the Buy and Renew Scheme which provides funding for local authorities to purchase vacant properties and remediate them and a new National Vacant Housing Re-Use Strategy which is currently being finalised.
Property owners interested in the scheme should contact their local authority directly and register their interest.