Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Local Authority Housing
1330. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of social houses acquired under the Housing Agency vacant housing fund in each year since the fund was introduced; and the average cost of these acquisitions in each year since the scheme has been in operation. [5847/20]
Under Rebuilding Ireland, direct capital funding is provided to the Housing Agency to facilitate the acquisition of suitable portfolios of properties for social housing from financial institutions and investors.
An acquisitions fund of €70 million, which is a revolving fund, was established with effect from 1 January 2017 with the objective of acquiring some 1,600 units over the period to 2021 for social housing use. This has enabled the Housing Agency to actively engage with banks and investment companies in relation to the acquisition of properties. The fund is replenished by the Agency through the sale of units primarily to the Approved Housing Body (AHB) sector and the funds received are recycled back into the fund for future acquisitions. AHBs utilise private finance as well as Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and Payment and Availability (P&A) funding available from my Department to fund these units.
Property acquisition and subsequent sale to AHBs is a process that can take some time, therefore, in order to maximise the potential for use of properties acquired by the Agency in the intervening period, an innovative Caretaker Lease arrangement has been developed. This allows the Agency to assign a property to an AHB who can carry out any necessary repairs and liaise with the Local Authority to tenant the unit, in parallel with the onward acquisition of the unit.
Up to end Q4 2019, a total of 747 properties had been purchased by the Agency using the Fund and placed on caretaker leases with AHBs or sold to local authorities. The onward sale of 445 of these homes to AHBs has been completed in full. In addition, in excess of 120 properties are in the process of proceeding to purchase close, being placed on caretaker leases, or transferred to Local Authorities. Overall, this activity represents close to 50% of the original target of the Fund which is intended to be achieved over the six year period of Rebuilding Ireland.
New homes acquired through the Fund and made available to AHBs under Caretaker Lease are included in my Department's overall quarterly reporting which is available at the following link:
The year by year breakdown specifically relating to the Fund and included in the overall reporting for Rebuilding Ireland is set out in the following Table.
|Year||No. of units||Average Cost|
1331. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of social houses acquired under the repair and leasing scheme in each year since it was introduced; and the average cost of the leases in each year since the scheme has been in operation. [5848/20]
The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) was developed to assist private property owners and local authorities or approved housing bodies (AHBs) to harness the accommodation potential that exists in certain vacant dwellings across Ireland. RLS has both capital and current funding streams. The capital element funds the repairs to the property; the current element funds the lease payment to the property owner with the cost of the repairs being recovered from the property owner by offsetting it against the lease payment.
At the end of 2019, a total of 165 dwellings had been delivered through RLS. Total output under the scheme by year, together with the average annual lease cost, is set out in the following table.
Table: RLS Delivery and Average Annual Cost 2017 to 2019
|Year||Dwellings Delivered||Average Annual Cost|
1332. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of social houses acquired under the buy and renew scheme in each year since the fund was introduced; and the average cost of these acquisitions in each year since the scheme has been in operation. [5849/20]
Under my Department's Social Housing Investment Programme, funding is available to all local authorities to deliver additional social housing stock through the acquisition of new and previously owned houses/apartments for social housing use, including delivery through the Buy and Renew Scheme.
Activity in this regard is largely delegated to local authorities so they can respond flexibly to all opportunities to provide new social housing. Since the Buy & Renew Scheme was introduced in late 2016, local authorities have delivered over 550 new social homes under the scheme to the end of 2019, as follows -
|Year||Units||Average Delivery Cost per Unit|
1333. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of social homes brought on-stream under the enhanced leasing scheme in each year since the scheme was introduced; and the average annual cost of these leases in each year. [5850/20]
My Department introduced the Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme in order to target newly built or yet to be built houses and apartments for long term leasing, and to target property developers and investors who are in a position to deliver housing at a reasonable scale in order to supplement delivery under Pillar 2 of Rebuilding Ireland. The Enhanced Leasing Scheme places a significant additional obligation on the lessor with respect to the ongoing management and maintenance of the properties under contract, work that would normally be carried out by the Local Authority on its own stock. This includes day to day maintenance, cyclical maintenance and all the associated operational risks, in addition to the initial construction risks carried by the lessor. In exchange, the lessor receives up to 95% of the open market rent.
The first call for proposals for the Enhanced Leasing Scheme was open from January to April 2018 and a total of 33 submissions were received. The second call for proposals closed on 25th October 2018 and a total of 22 submissions were received.
The first Agreement for Lease was signed in Q2 2019 for 23 new social housing homes, with expected delivery in 2020. The first homes delivered under the Enhanced Leasing Scheme were delivered in Q4 2019, bringing the total to 113 homes. No payments were made by my Department for these units in 2019 but the estimated average annual lease cost for 2020 for these 113 units is €22,221. Delivery to date has been concentrated in the Dublin area; as the scheme matures, it is expected that more units will be delivered in other locations and, accordingly, the average cost will be reduced.
1334. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of voids brought back into the housing stock in each of the years 2016 to 2019; and the number of these that were previously vacant for longer than six months in tabular form. [5851/20]
Under the Voids Programme funded by my Department, 7,333 vacant social housing homes were returned to productive use in the period 2016-2019. This figure does not include homes which were returned to productive use by local authorities using funding from their own resources. See the following table for full breakdown by local authority of the units funded by my Department:
|Units Returned in 2016||Units Returned in 2017||Units Returned in 2018||Units Returned in 2019||Units Returned 2016 - 2019|
One of the key objectives of the Voids Programme is to provide local authorities with funding to help minimise the turnaround and re-let time of vacant units. Data in relation to how many of these properties were vacant for longer than six months is not collated. However, statistics in relation to the social housing stock are published by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) in their Annual Reports on Performance Indicators in Local Authorities. These reports provide a range of information in relation to social housing stock, including the average time taken to re-tenant a dwelling. The most recent report, relating to 2018, is available on the NOAC website at the following link: .