Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Local Authority Housing
Question 395: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if legislation is necessary to facilitate the introduction of a tenant purchase scheme for tenants of voluntary housing associations, whose homes were funded under the capital loan and subsidy scheme, and who took up occupancy on the properties prior to the introduction of the incremental purchase scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3320/11]
Question 396: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will include long-standing tenants of voluntary housing associations, housed under the capital loan and subsidy scheme, in the new tenant purchase provisions announced in the recent budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3321/11]
Question 412: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to change legislation in respect of ownership, funding of, or controlling interests in, tenancies of housing (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3719/11]
Michael Finneran (Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing and Local Services, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Roscommon-South Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 395, 396 and 412 together.
The support of accommodation provided by approved housing bodies is an integral part of my Department's overall response to delivering on social housing need. Local authorities and approved housing bodies are working in close co-operation to deliver an expanded range of social housing options and a wide range of accommodation types to meet the needs of low-income families and persons with specific categories of housing need.
There is no provision at present in the voluntary housing sector for the purchase of individual houses by tenants. The increased tenant purchase discounts announced in the Budget for Local Authority houses will not, therefore, apply to houses owned by approved bodies.
Ownership of dwellings financed under the Capital Funding Schemes is vested in the relevant approved housing body. In order to ensure that dwellings are used in accordance with the terms of the Capital Funding Schemes, approved housing bodies are required to enter into a legal agreement for a period of up to 30 years with the relevant housing authority, creating a mortgage charge on the dwelling in respect of which funding was advanced.
Any changes in these arrangements would require the consent of individual approved housing bodies and a national tenant purchase scheme for dwellings provided by approved bodies would require legislative underpinning. My Department is currently examining, in consultation with the voluntary and co-operative housing sector, the future funding and governance arrangements for the sector and the need for any policy and legislative changes, including changes to facilitate the sale of dwellings to tenants or others, will be determined in the light of the outcome of this examination.