Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Local Authority Housing Maintenance
1200. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if additional funding will be provided in 2020 to local authorities for the housing voids programme in view of the need to eliminate delays in the allocation of vacant council houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2957/20]
1201. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if additional funding will be allocated to Cavan County Council in 2020 for the housing voids programme to ensure the minimum delay in allocating vacant council houses which need upgrading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2958/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1200 and 1201 together.
The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, the implementation of a planned maintenance programme and carrying out of responsive repairs, are matters for each individual local authority under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966.
Since 2014, Exchequer funding has also been provided through my Department's Voids Programme to support local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-letting. This funding was introduced originally to tackle long term vacant units and is now targeted to ensure minimal turnaround and re-let times for local authority vacant stock. During 2019, expenditure of some €26.6 million was recouped by local authorities under the Voids Programme.
My Department will continue to support local authorities in their work in this area. There is however a commitment under Rebuilding Ireland that local authorities will introduce a preventative maintenance approach to the management of their housing stock and it is logical that this will be significantly funded by the rental income from that same housing stock. My Department is in discussions on this with the City & County Management Association on behalf of local authorities.
In relation to Cavan County Council, the local authority has received €1.65 million of funding from 2014 to 2019, resulting in 137 units being returned to use. While my Department will examine proposals from Cavan County Council under the voids programme in 2020, it would be of concern if there is any reduction in the local authority housing maintenance budgets and resultant capacity to maintain housing stock. The support of elected members for adequate budgetary provision for this important work will ensure quick re-letting of vacant housing and the adequate maintenance of all local authority housing stock.